Home / Nation Alert / Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne help Sri Lanka end tough day on a high | Cricket

Rangana Herath, Dimuth Karunaratne help Sri Lanka end tough day on a high | Cricket

South Africa 4 for 1 (Elgar 4, Maharaj 0*, Herath 1-1) trail Sri Lanka 287 (Karunaratne 158*, Gunathilaka 26, Rabada 4-50, Shamsi 3-91) by 283 runs

Dimuth Karunaratne raises his bat after reaching a century © AFP

An unbeaten century from Dimuth Karunaratne neutralised the South African threat on the opening day of the Test series in Galle, after the visiting attack burrowed their way through Sri Lanka's middle order. Playing in his 50th Test, Karunaratne was the only Sri Lankan batsman to score more than 26 runs and featured in five partnerships of over 40 – the last stand of 63 with Lakshan Sandakan – to ensure that even though Sri Lanka lost six wickets for 61 at one point, they ended the day on top.

Kagiso Rabada emerged as a the spearhead of the South African pack, with 4 for 50 on a surface that offered scant assistance. He outbowled both his seniors – Vernon Philander, who only delivered eight overs, and Dale Steyn, who took one step closer to breaking Shaun Pollock's record as South Africa's leading Test wicket-taker. For Steyn, two more remain. Tabraiz Shamsi, the left-arm wristspinner who was included alongside Keshav Maharaj, was the other threat, which only suggests it will become tougher for batting as the match progresses.

Full report to follow…

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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