Sri Lanka falter after a strong start against loose Proteas in Centurion

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By lunch on the first day of the first Test between South Africa and Sri Lanka t6he tourists were 102 for 3 after a topsy-turvy session.

Sri Lanka make a good start

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat first on a muggy day in Centurion.

The Proteas did not make the best start with the ball, but Sri Lanka helped them with three soft wickets in the first hour.

It seemed like Sri Lanka’s openers Dimuth Karunaratne, and Kusal Perera were well set after a quick start against Lungi Ngidi and Lutho Sipamla.

Sipamla struggled on debut, giving the Sri Lanka batsmen plenty to punish while Ngidi was closer to finding the right line and length.

Ngidi eventually found the breakthrough out of nowhere, and Karunaratne (22) chopped on against a seemingly innocuous short ball to leave the visitors 28 for 1 in the fifth over of the day.

Proteas skipper Quinton de Kock soon turned to Anrich Nortje’s whose raw pace immediately caused problems for the Sri Lankans.

Nortje snapped up the second wicket as Kusal Mendis (12) was beaten for pace trying to pull and popped up a simple catch to Ngidi at mid-on. While Nortje has that extra yard of pace, Mendis would not want to see the shot he played again and the same was true for Perera who also departed with the score on 54.

Perera (16) flashed at a teasing delivery from Wiaan Mulder just an over later to leave Sri Lanka 54 for 3.

The Proteas were inconsistent with the ball offering plenty of free runs to the Sri Lankans who were there own worst enemies with the shot selection they employed.

Mulder and Nortje were the pick of the Proteas bowlers settling into a nagging line and length, and the pair beat the bat a lot more than the two men who took the new ball.

Sri Lanka would be disappointed at surrendering three of their top-four without being put under a great deal of pressure risking exposing their lower-order to a Proteas attack operating with a fairly new ball.

Chandimal and De Silva rally

Dinesh Chandimal and Dhanajaya de Silva presented contrasting approaches as they tried to steer Sri Lanka to lunch without further damage being incurred.

The Proteas bowled better in the latter part of the first session but Chandimal and De Silva dug their heels in to keep things close to level.

A solid partnership saw Sri Lanka bring up their 100 with three back in the hut in the over before lunch.

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