x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 August 2017

Batsmen fall down like nine pins to pace duo

Third successive five-wicket haul for Philander as Steyn chips in with four to trigger collapse and put South Africa in the driver's seat.

Vernon Philander claimed his third five-wicket haul in as many Test matches as South Africa dominated the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park yesterday.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 180 and South Africa replied with 90 for one, with Graeme Smith, the captain, hitting 61 before he was out eight balls before the close.

Philander took five for 53 and Dale Steyn, his fellow fast bowler, grabbed four for 18 as Sri Lanka struggled after being sent in on a green pitch which offered bounce and movement to the South African quicks.

There were two half-century partnerships during the Sri Lankan innings, with Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews all reaching 30, but the rest of the batting crumbled.

Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for 24 runs off 32 balls.

The collapse was sparked by the fall of three wickets in five balls - all confirmed by television reviews - ending a spirited fifth wicket stand of 65 off 79 balls between Samaraweera (36) and Mathews (38).

Philander broke the partnership when he had Samaraweera caught behind off a ball that bounced steeply. The batsman was given not out by umpire Rod Tucker, but South Africa asked for a review and the hotspot technology showed the batsman got an edge to the ball.

The next ball brought the wicket of Kaushal Silva, again after the batsman was given not out by umpire Tucker.

The review, requested by South Africa, showed that Silva gloved the ball down the legside to Mark Boucher, the wicketkeeper.

Three balls later new batsman Thisara Perera was caught at slip off Imran Tahir, the leg-spinner.

He was given out by umpire Steve Davis, and television umpire Richard Kettleborough was again brought into action when Perera unsuccessfully sought a review.

Philander took five wickets in an innings in both his previous Tests against Australia last month for a total of 14 wickets at an average of 13.92.

He had Mathews caught at slip to achieve the feat again before Steyn bowled the last two batsmen, Chanaka Welegedara and Dilhara Fernando with successive fast, straight balls.

Steyn became the second fastest bowler in history to reach 250 Test wickets when he started Sri Lanka's troubles by having Tillekeratne Dilshan, the captain and opening batsman, caught at mid-wicket, playing a rash shot.

Steyn achieved the milestone in his 49th Test, one match more than Australia's Dennis Lillee.

He moved ahead of Allan Donald, now the South Africa bowling coach, who needed 50 matches to take 250 wickets.