2020-21 Test Cricket News debrief, Day 2 of the 1st Test: South Africa v Sri Lanka in Centurion


Sri Lanka resumed at 340-6 after Day 1 of the 2nd Test v South Africa. Dhahanjaya Da Silva was one of the decent batters out there yesterday. And held the SA bowlers hostage alongside Dinesh Chandimal.

But he too unfortunate to suffer a thigh sprain while running a quick single. Heard an update & he will be out for two weeks or the whole series. The injury area is grade 2 so Da Silva unable to come back.

The away team nonetheless moved on without Da Silva. The all-rounder who can think like Ben Stokes compensated that small loss. Dasun Shanaka made up great use of the old ball. And whacked these good shots. As long as it provided the movement. Job well done on his Test 50.

But the 1st half of this AM session went to Lutho Sipamla. He may have copped plenty of stick. Not just as the opening bowler. And the fielding on his very first Test match. Lutho cleaned the tail enders with 4 wickets on hand. Almost scored a hat-trick too. So he would have joined Damien Fleming to achieve that feat. Sri Lanka all out for 396-9. It is an exemption to make due to Da Silva who retired hurt.

South Africa got their opportunity to respond. And fired off right away with the bat. Dean Elgar & Aiden Markram kept their game simple down low. That earned them a quiet run before lunch. Seems the left-right hand combo worked against the opposition. They still have lot to catch though at 45-0. And trails by 351 runs.

Both men picked up their respective half-tons not long after the break. It is great to see Markram still gets his chance. The only time he was out of the squad when it comes to injuries. His last test match helped win v England exactly 12 months ago in Centurion. But unable to go on and keep SA afloat due to a finger sprain. His first-class form is no different. And Aiden is able to transfer these runs at Test level.

Aiden unable to go on & convert his possible 100 on 68. Basically a nothing shot I am afraid out wide. Before Dasun took the catch at point. Dasun Shanaka not only a team player as seen with the bat & on the field. South Africa head to tea at 180-1. And trails by 216 runs. They still won that session. Despite the lone dismissal taken away from Markram.

Shanaka also denied Dean Elgar in a similar fashion as Aiden on just 95 runs. It is gutting that Dean will have to wait again. And score his first Test 100 at his state home ground. Dean was almost on the money. But just hitted without any footwork & Dasun took that gentle catch.

Rassie Van Der Dussen & Quinton De Kock both came in with high hopes. They may have fired off with some runs on the board. But both unfortunate to make these mistakes. Just jumped off the gun too early with the zilch shots when reaching the ball. Their plan is so different to what Aiden & Dean opened earlier.

But Faf Du Plessis & Temba Bavuma went back to square one. And copied what their openers did with the safe pair shots. They were able to keep the bowlers quiet. Not only they are building a stable stand. Faf also able to back up his half-ton. Even at age 36 & no longer their Test skipper. He will look to meet what SL set earlier yesterday. And will need his help from Temba. So they can find a total that will make SL difficult to catch up. And see a robust SA bowling game plan this time.

I also want to point out about Temba there too. I predict him to bat at No.6 because Temba is best with the old ball. He too exactly slotted in there. And so far Temba is on 41 not out. Not bad from this bloke after all. The next test for Temba is to execute against the new ball. It is something SL will alter tomorrow. Expect him to block a few. And get those 1s to 2s piling in before it is safe to get his Test 50.

South Africa end Day 2 on 317-4 & trails by 96 runs. The response is already there with the best strengths batting wise. After the bowling department somewhat light in Day 1. They are missing Kagiso Rabada badly who unable to play due to groin strain. But they are hoping the boy in Sipamla to fill exactly what Rabada did with the ball. And get another 4 to 5fer by targeting the SL batting Top 6.

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