Run-out opens door for South Africa

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa: A moment of hesitation opened the door for South Africa as Sri Lanka battled to save the first Test at St George's Park on Thursday.

Sri Lanka were 118 for two at tea on the fourth day after being set an improbable 488 to win.

Opening batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Kaushal Silva defied the South African bowlers for 145 minutes before Karunaratne was run out for 43 in the 33rd over.

Two overs later Kusal Perera attempted an extravagant cut shot and was caught behind off left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj.

Karunaratne and Silva both showed patience and good discipline on a pitch which did not offer the bowlers as much help as it did in the first innings.

Then Silva pushed a ball from Maharaj into the covers and set off for a run. Both batsmen hesitated momentarily in mid-pitch, JP Duminy picked up and released the ball quickly to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, who broke the stumps with a diving Karunaratne just short of the crease.

Silva, who survived two difficult chances, was unbeaten on 48 at tea. He was on five when Kagiso Rabada produced a lifting ball that looped off his right glove. Wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock got his fingertips to the ball before it went for four runs. On 31, a leaping Dean Elgar at short midwicket could not hold a powerful pull shot off Maharaj.

Earlier South African captain Faf du Plessis declared with South Africa on 406 for six in their second innings. He and De Kock added 55 runs in 10.5 overs on Thursday before De Kock missed a sweep against left-arm spinner Rangana Herath and was leg before wicket.

De Kock made 69 off 86 balls and Du Plessis was unbeaten on 67, also made off 86 deliveries. The pair put on 129, a record sixth wicket partnership for South Africa against Sri Lanka. It was also the third century stand of an innings during which South Africa scored at an average of 4.47 runs an over. — AFP