Sri Lanka in driver's seat vs South Africa

Sri Lanka players celebrate a wicket / Getty Images    
    
      MATCH REPORT

South Africa have slumped to their lowest test total since readmission to worldwide cricket, bowled out for 73 on Saturday as Sri Lanka won the first game of their two-match series by 278 runs in Galle with two full days to spare.

Sri Lanka off-spinner Dilruwan Perera took six wickets in the second innings for a match-haul of 10, as the hosts registered a thumping 278-run win over South Africa inside three days of the opening Test on Saturday.

Veteran Rangana Herath grabbed two wickets while left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan claimed one - the three spinners sharing seven wickets in total.

Spin reigned supreme in the final session as well with left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj claiming 3-37 even though Sri Lanka kept on stretching their lead.

Karunaratne certainly showed the South Africans that runs could be scored on a surface that was providing appreciable but not reckless turn, although the pugnacious left-hander did not have to contend with Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath.

South Africa s match aggregate of 199 was 20 runs fewer than Sri Lanka opener Dimuth Karunaratne s individual score across both innings.

It was a chastening blow for Faf du Plessis, who admitted that it could well be South Africa's worst loss under his leadership. "When you are playing spin you need to have a defence, but more than that you have to dominate the spinners before they dominate you".

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Kagiso Rabada had struck twice in an over in the first hour of the day, before spinners Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi, and Dale Steyn took one wicket apiece to finish the innings off. Bangladesh's 62 is the lowest while Sri Lanka's tally of 71 against Pakistan in Kandy at 1994 is the second-lowest. Though they lost a series in England in mid-2017, they won in Australia in late 2016 and they have enjoyed two successful home summers, beating Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, India and Australia.

Although South Africa were bowled out in less than 55 overs, there was no shortage of application from South Africa's batsmen, Amla said.

"We didn't expect to get them bowled out for 126, though".

"On pitches like this I am always looking for runs and trying to bat positively".

The same pair combined to get rid of Bavuma before Faf du Plessis was tamely caught at first slip off Herath, who had a second wicket when Aiden Markram came down the track and was stumped by Dickwella. "We stopped easy runs, put pressure and got the wickets early and things went on pretty well I thought", Perera told reporters.

The second test starts Friday in Colombo.

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