SA’s Dean Elgar bats on the first day of the third Test against Sri Lanka, at Wanderers in Johannesburg on January 12 2107. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
SA’s Dean Elgar bats on the first day of the third Test against Sri Lanka, at Wanderers in Johannesburg on January 12 2107. Picture: GALLO IMAGES

Hashim Amla and JP Duminy steadied SA’s batting ship after two early blips threatened to derail their sound start in the first morning of the third Test against Sri Lanka.

SA meandered to 75/2 after Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook failed to see out the first session in what was a difficult morning for batting.

In his 100th Test‚ Amla was unbeaten on six while Duminy predictably took the initiative with his stylish batting and was unbeaten on 23.

Amla was gifted a life on five when he was dropped by Dhananjaya da Silva at third slip off the luckless Suranga Lakmal in the last over before lunch.

Cook’s first home-ground Test was a difficult one and it came as no surprise when Angelo Mathews trapped him in front for a laborious 41-ball 10.

It was a constipated effort by the junior opening partner but also highlighted the struggles he and Elgar encountered on the spongy surface that had a tinge of green.

At no stage did Cook look comfortable as the ball tended to rear off a good length at the Corlett Drive end.

While there was conjecture about Faf du Plessis’s decision to bat first despite picking four fast bowlers and handing a debut to Knights paceman Duanne Olivier at Keshav Maharaj’s expense‚ the sturdy 45-run opening stand seemed to stand SA in good stead.

Elgar (27) lasted only six balls before he wafted a wide one from Lahiru Kumara to Dimuth Karunaratne at first slip.

It was a wasteful exit from the left-hander as he did well to see off a searching spell from the probing Lakmal while Nuwan Pradeep also asked questions of Elgar’s salt as a Test opener.

Chances are Mathews would have been happy with the morning’s proceedings even though Sri Lanka had taken three early wickets in the second Test at Newlands before an Elgar-led recovery led SA to post a first-innings total that was far beyond the visitor’s batting capabilities.

Things were not easy for the out-of-form Amla and the equally struggling Duminy as the Sri Lankan bowlers located their lengths very quickly.

Whether they run out of steam like they did in the first two Tests will be seen in the next two sessions.

TMG Digital

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