South Africa v Sri Lanka Test - Men's

SL defy controversial call to stun Proteas

South Africa bowled out for just 235 on opening day as Sri Lanka’s bowlers overcome early umpiring error


14 February 2019, 08:00 AM AEST

Bavuma's shocking luck as SL shine

The start of South Africa's first Test against Sri Lanka was hit by confusion and controversy before a run had even been scored as the tourists took the honours on the opening day of the series.

Sri Lanka finished the day in Durban on 1-49 after their inexperienced bowling attack stunned the Proteas, bowling the hosts out for just 235.

The early controversy was sparked by the refusal of a Sri Lankan player review, which prevented the tourists from taking their second early wicket.

Hashim Amla was given not out by umpire Aleem Dar following an appeal for leg before wicket, two balls after left-arm opening bowler Vishwa Fernando had Dean Elgar caught behind in just the second over.

Sri Lanka celebrate an early wicket // Getty
Sri Lanka celebrate an early wicket // Getty

New Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne conferred with Fernando and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella and eventually signalled that he wanted a review.

But he was told he had taken too long and the decision was not sent to television umpire Ian Gould. But an analysis by SuperSport television showed the total time between Dar turning down the appeal and Karunaratne asking for a review was 12 seconds, three seconds inside the allowable 15 seconds to ask for a review.

Replays showed the ball had pitched in line and would have hit the stumps, which would have resulted in the original decision being overturned if a review had been allowed.

The lapse was not costly as Amla made only three before he was caught at second slip off Suranga Lakmal for three in the sixth over.

And the Sri Lankans shook off the incident, seamer Fernando bagging four wickets for the day as the Proteas were bowled out in a spicy Kingsmead pitch.

Karunaratne (28no) and the attacking Oshada Fernando (17no) will resume on the second morning, hoping to lay the platform for a sizeable first-innings lead.

Sri Lanka opener Lahiru Thirimanne was their only wicket to fall, batting for close to half an hour before he was caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock for a duck off seamer Dale Steyn.

South Africa's innings was rescued to a degree by a fighting 80 from de Kock before he was the last man out, having at least taken his side past the 200 mark.

Markram is castled in the first session // Getty
Markram is castled in the first session // Getty

"We were a bit unaware of the new guys. I think they caught us off guard," said de Kock.

"We had good game plans against Suranga Lakmal, but the two new guys were unseen before. They bowled really well, they didn't miss their lengths often and they made us work hard for what we got."

After winning the toss and electing to bowl, Sri Lanka had South Africa three wickets down with 17 runs on the board before Faf du Plessis (35) and Temba Bavuma (47) put on 72 for the fourth wicket to calm home nerves.

But the tourists continued to chip away at the wickets column despite a positive run-rate from the hosts.

Fernando (4-62) was impressive with the new ball as he had both openers Elgar (0) and Aiden Markram (11) back in the changing rooms early.

Bavuma showed good application before he was out in unfortunate circumstances, a straight drive from De Kock deflecting off the boot of bowler Fernando and onto the stumps with the batsman out of his crease.

Keshav Maharaj (29) put on 47 with De Kock but was caught by Dickwella off Fernando just before tea, with South Africa adding a potentially crucial 57 before being bowled out.