2020-21 Test Cricket report, Day 3 of the 1st Test in Centurion: South Africa v Sri Lanka

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South Africa resumed on Day 3 at 317-4 with less than 100 runs to close off. Faf Du Plessis passed his 50 yesterday. Temba on the other hand is in the 40s run mark.

Both batsman make up the best use of the old ball while it lasts. It allowed Temba to catch up before he followed Faf in a similar fashion. Temba stayed a bit longer until on 71. Before Niroshan Dickwella caught him off the edge of his bat.

But his latest dismissal is divided. I heard snicko and hotspot saying that Temba did not edge the bat. Then he walked away thinking he edged it. Despite evidence saying otherwise. And the umpire approved this wicket from Dasun Shanaka for Sri Lanka. I do not want to slate this guy. He has done a great job from No.6 as I predicted before the 1st Test. Best to talk to Faf before making an appeal. So the umpire can flip the decision to not out.

Faf nevertheless moved on & converted to a well deserved 100. His first Test to v Sri Lanka. He was joined by Wiaan Mulder inherited the work from Temba. Wiaan fired off with the glamour shots along the way. Some went high risk. But he makes up his footwork. And let the ball meet his full bat face. It did not take long to get to 20 before lunchtime. South Africa leads by 39 runs at 434-5. There is still more work to compensate. But Wiaan should back up Faf. And stay there until the end of Day 3.

They both stayed that way with Wiaan added more runs until on 36. He was unable to get away a good ball from Wahindu Hasaranga. Just a zilch shot with little footwork to the gloves of Niroshan Dickwella. But SA quickly make up his dismissal with a similar spree from another all-rounder. Keshav Maharaj who usually leads the spin made 43 towards the tea break. While Faf remains on 177 runs. South Africa 565-6 & 169 run lead.

Faf continued to get better with his batting prowess. As Faf was on the verge of meeting 200. But unfortunately got out just one run short. Another piece of work nailed from Hasaranga with his spin. He & Vishwa Fernando did not waste time held the tail end accountable for a pair. That would be Anrich Nortje & Lutho Sipamla.

Keshav did his best to hold on tight having already secured his 50. But unable to do so when South Africa all out for 621. At least the home team fought back. That is where their best strengths lie. I would have liked to see SA declare if they still bat by the end of Day 3. But a 225 run lead is good to pull away. Especially we saw a few injury niggles hitting SL.

And it would be a good thing for SA when Lungi Ngidi took 2 quick scalps. He first clean bowled skipper Dimuth Karunathe for six. Then added some short ball spice to make Kusal Mendis play. And saw Kusal shy away from the ball to Rassie Van Der Dussen at 1st slip. Brilliant hands with the ball coming to him nicely. As good as chucking the pork in the oven. And cooked it about just right with the execution.

Day 3 wraps up the on field action as Sri Lanka 65/2. The away side trails by 160 runs. And they need to rely on Kusal Perera & Dinesh Chandimal to stay. A series of painful thighs is shaking the head coach in agony. Remove these two & then the middle order. This test match is unfortunately done and dusted for them.

South Africa are coming back from a slow & messy first day. A change of opening bowling this time worked favors. They need Ngidi & Nortje to remove these experienced men ASAP. And do watch out for Dasun Shanaka who can think/bat like Ben Stokes. SA is on the cusp of victory in Centurion. As long as they clean out the Top 7 between lunch & tea on Day 4. And not let SL shave off the required run trail.

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