Friday, 20 July 2018 - 18:53
Maharaj makes history, Sri Lanka on 277/9


Keshav Maharaj singlehandedly kept South Africa competing on a dry pitch in Colombo, where claiming the best figures by a visiting spinner on Sri Lankan soil.
Maharaj was operating as the only specialist spinner in the XI and his career-best 8 for 116 engineered mini-collapses in a Sri Lankan innings that could not sustain its strong start.
Danushka Gunathilaka and Dimuth Karunaratne put on the first century stand for the opening pair since October 2016, and the first at home since 2010.
Both went on to score half-centuries. Dhananjaya de Silva joined them with the milestone but none of the three pushed on to three figures, and no-one in the middle-order made more than 22.
Sri Lanka lost 3 for 37 after their first-wicket stand and 5 for 41 later in the day, and may not get to 300.
But with three spinners in their attack, they will believe their total is worth much more.
South Africa have armed themselves with an extra batsman to prepare for the challenge, leaving out the second specialist spinner, a selection which threatened to backfire on them when the seamers failed to make inroads.
Dale Steyn's wait to overtake Shaun Pollock as South Africa's leading wicket-taker continues.
Steyn bowled 15 overs but caused few problems, fewer than Kagiso Rabada or Lungi Ngidi, who was selected ahead of Vernon Philander for this Test.
Of the three, Rabada was the standout, putting in the most work and enjoying some reward, when he claimed the only other wicket in the day.

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