South Africa fought back to take control of the first Test on day two with a strong batting effort.
Lutho Sipamla had done the job of running through the Sri Lanka tail, and the Proteas just kept the tourists under 400.
Sri Lanka’s effort of 396 all out was their highest ever in a Test innings in South Africa but the Proteas close to within 79 runs of the total by stumps.
Proteas build partnerships
Two partnerships were key for the Proteas with Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram putting on 140 for the first wicket while Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma steadied the ship after a clutch of wickets.
Markram provided the early impetus as the Proteas took some learnings from the positivity shown by the tourists in their innings.
The pair made it to lunch at 45 without loss before both went past 50 after the break. Markram looked well set until before being drawn into a shot by Vishwa Fernando who found the edge and had Markram (63) caught in the gully.
Elgar sought to keep scoring and together with Rassie van der Dussen helped South Africa move to 200 before both lost their wickets. Van der Dussen was undone by a great ball from Lahiru Kumara before Elgar, just five short of a century, before he chipped one back to Dasun Shanaka.
Skipper Quinton de Kock (18) fell to spinner Wanindu Hasaranga becoming the leggie’s first Test victim and leaving South Africa teetering.
Du Plessis and Bavuma came together to frustrate the Sri Lanka bowlers and grind the Proteas towards a position of dominance.
In the final, over of the day Hasaranga thought he had Bavuma trapped leg before but their review was unsuccessful, leaving them with just one referral left for the remainder of the innings.
Du Plessis (55*) and Bavuma (41*) will resume their efforts on Monday with the score on 317/4.
South Africa vs Sri Lanka – Scorecard
Scores at close of play on the second day of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Sunday:
Sri Lanka, first innings
D. Karunaratne b Ngidi 22
K. Perera c De Kock b Mulder 16
K. Mendis c Ngidi b Nortje 12
D. Chandimal c Du Plessis b Mulder 85
D. de Silva retired hurt 79
N. Dickwella lbw b Mulder 49
D. Shanaka not out 66
W. Hasaranga b Sipamla 18
K. Rajitha c Elgar b Sipamla 12
V. Fernando b Sipamla 0
L. Kumara c Van der Dussen b Sipamla 0
Extras (b16, lb9, nb6, w6) 37
Total (96 overs) 396
Fall of wickets: 1-28 (Karunaratne), 2-54 (Mendis), 3-54 (Perera), 4-284 (Chandimal), 5-296 (Dickwella), 6-320 (Hasaranga), 7-387 (Rajitha), 8-387 (Fernando), 9-396 (Kumara)
Bowling: Ngidi 19-3-64-1, Sipamla 16-1-76-4 (3nb), Nortje 22-3-88-1 (2w), Mulder 20-4-69-3 (3nb), Maharaj 19-3-74-0
South Africa, first innings
D. Elgar c and b Shanaka 95
A. Markram c Shanaka b Fernando 68
H. van der Dussen c Dickwella b Kumara 15
F. du Plessis not out 55
Q. de Kock c sub (Thirimanne) b Hasaranga 18
T. Bavuma not out 41
Extras (b8, lb6, nb5, w6) 25
Total (4 wkts, 72 overs) 317
Fall of wickets: 1-141 (Markram), 2-200 (Van der Dussen), 3-200 (Elgar), 4-220 (De Kock)
Bowling: Fernando 15-2-59-1 (1w), Rajitha 2.1-0-16-0 (1nb), Shanaka 16.5-2-56-1 (3nb), Hasaranga 23-3-99-1 (1nb), Kumara 15-0-73-1 (1w)
To bat: W. Mulder, K. Maharaj, A. Nortje, L. Sipamla, L. Ngidi
Match situation: South Africa trail by 79 runs with six wickets remaining in the first innings
Toss: Sri Lanka
Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Adrian Holdstock (both RSA)
TV umpire: Allahudien Paleker (RSA)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)