July 21, 2018 / 2:37 PM / 5 months ago

Cricket - Sri Lanka reign in Colombo despite Maharaj milestone

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Keshav Maharaj returned the second best figures by a South African bowler in a test innings but Sri Lanka took a firm step towards a 2-0 series sweep after thoroughly dominating day two of the second and final test on Saturday.

Cricket - Sri Lanka v South Africa - Second Test Match - Colombo, Sri Lanka - July 21, 2018 - South Africa's Keshav Maharaj tries to stop a ball next to Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

South Africa’s spin frailties were laid bare once again as the tourists collapsed for 124 to concede a first innings lead of 214 runs at Colombo’s Sinhalese Sports Club Ground.

Sri Lanka, who made 338 in the first innings, were 151-3 at stumps after deciding not to impose follow-on against the tourists who now stare at the possibility of a second successive test defeat inside three days.

Dimuth Karunaratne was batting on 59 at stumps, his fourth successive 50-plus knock in the series, with Angelo Mathews on 12 at the other end.

For South Africa, left arm-spinner Maharaj took his match-haul to 11 wickets but his team were in dire straits.

Earlier resuming the day on 277 for nine, Akila Dananjaya and Rangana Herath frustrated South Africa with a dogged 74-run stand for the final wicket before Maharaj struck when the latter was caught behind for 35. Dananjaya remained unbeaten on 43.

Maharaj’s 9-129 is the second best by a South African in tests, behind only Hugh Tayfield’s 9-113 against England in 1957, but his success brought little cheer to a side battling their own spin vulnerabilities.

Herath and Dananjaya (5-42) returned from the innings break to harm South Africa with the new ball, reducing the leaden-footed tourists to 15 for three.

Dilruwan Perera (4-40) then joined the rout as South Africa lost all 10 wickets to the Sri Lankan spinners.

Faf du Plessis (48) and Quinton de Kock (32) counter-attacked but it was not enough as the tourists once again failed to reach the 150-mark in the series.

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; Editing by John O'Brien and Christian Radnedge

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