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Kallis, De Villiers power South Africa to 580 in Newlands Test, Dilshan leads Lankan fightback

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de_villiersSouth Africa's run-feast continued as the hosts battered the Sri Lankan bowlers into submission on Day 2 of the final Test at the beautiful Newlands stadium. Jacques Kallis (224) completed just the second double hundred of his illustrious Test career while the star of the day, AB de Villiers, spanked an unbeaten 160 to pile the misery on the Lankans. Rudolph sustained the tempo set by the deadly duo and strolled to a personally significant fifty before Grame Smith declared Proteas' first innings at 580-4. The tourists, led by a near run-a-ball 78 from Captain Dilshan fought back to end the day at 149-2. The Lankans are still 231 runs shy of avoiding the follow-on and will need to bat out of their skins to save this Test. 

The overnight pair of Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers carried on the good work to all but end Sri Lanka's flimsy chances of a fightback. It was a sense of deja vu as the Sri Lankan bowlers looked jaded and failed to penetrate their hosts' defences. The Proteas got off to a resounding start by scoring 5 fours in the first two overs of the day. The imperious Jacques Kallis drove the ball with expert timing and executed the pull shot to perfection. Although the field was spread out, runs came freely and South Africa merrily progressed to a position of ultimate strength. The fact the Sri Lanka managed only 2 maiden overs in the morning session told the tale of the South African dominance. Sri Lanka had the odd opportunity but did not make it count. Dhammika Prasad found the outside edge of Kallis' bat in the 3rd over of the day but Mahela Jayawardene spilled a dolly at second slip.

 

De Villiers got to his half-century very early on in the day, and launched himself at the Lankan bowling. Meanwhile the unstoppable Kallis notched up his 2nd double ton by chopping Thisara Perera towards point. Rangana Herath then brought an end to Kallis' epic knock with a flighted delivery. The local boy, received a standing ovation as he walked off to the dressing room with a career best 224 to his name Lunch was taken at the dismissal of Kallis with the scorecard reading 453-4.

The stage was set for the under-fire Jacques Rudolph to make a big score and prove a point to his detractors. The southpaw looked in confident touch and also joined the party. Rudolph scored back to back boundaries off Prasad in the 126th over. De Villiers on the other hand made steady progress and moved into the nervous nineties. The South African vice-captain became the third centurion of the innings with a push through mid-wicket off the bowling of Herath.

As expected De Villiers opened up his shoulders and cut loose after reaching the three-figure mark. Rudolph too used both the regulation sweep and reverse sweep to good effect against Herath. De Villiers smashed 2 sixes on the trot off Tillakaratne Dilshan in the 135th over. The intention from the Proteas to get as many runs as quick as possible was crystal clear. Rudolph scored his first fifty since his return to the South African line up while the partnership blossomed to over hundred. The dashing De Villiers took only 26 balls to move from 100 to 150. Soon after, Graeme Smith announced the declaration of South Africa's first innings at 580-4. South Africa's imposing total plunged into the history books as the third highest first innings score at Newlands.

The sprightly Proteas pacers, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, settled into a probing line and length outside the off-stump to trouble the visitors early on. The Sri Lankan openers endured more edges and near misses than their bowlers had produced in the 49 overs they bowled today. The first convincing four came off Dilshan's blade in the 6th over. As usual Dilshan was in no mood to sit back and play the waiting game. Lahiru Thirumane and Dilshan survived the uncomfortable 8 over period to take Sri Lanka to 29-0 at the stroke of tea.

Thirumane dug in and left the ball wisely, proving to be a perfect foil for the Sri Lankan skipper who unleashed a spate of boundaries in the first 15 minutes after the tea interval. Dilshan got a nasty delivery from Morne Morkel in the 13th over which narrowly missed his gloves. The tall pacer in his next over breached Thirumane's defence to uproot the off-stump to break the 70 run opening stand. Thirumane fell for a decent 23.

Despite the loss of his opening partner, Dilshan ensured that the guests kept scoring at a good clip. The exciting batsman smashed his way to his 20th test fifty off only 41 deliveries. Dilshan's extra cover drive off Philander in the 19th over was loaded with power. The graceful Kumar Sangakkara too was very much at home on the flat batting track. Dilshan's adventurous approach paid off as the Lankan lions roared back in to the contest.

Imran Tahir's long awaited introduction into the attack came in the 27th over. The leg spinner struck in his second over to remove Dilshan. Graeme Smith took an exceptional catch at long on to signal the downfall of his counterpart, who failed to get hold of a length ball from Tahir. An iron-willed Sangakkara (35*) in the company to Mahela Jayawardene (7*), who lived through a couple of close lbw appeals in the last over, shepherded the Lankan lions to 149-2 before stumps were drawn.

With the wicket still conductive for batting, the visitors will be banking upon their big guns, Jayawardene and Sangakkara to cash in and challenge the South African total. On the other hand, the hosts will want their bowlers to come hard at Sri Lanka and knock them over early on Day 3.

Teams:

Sri Lanka: T Dilshan (captain), L Thirumane, K Sangakkara, M Jayawardene, T Samaraweera, A Mathews (vice-captain), D Chandimal (keeper), R Herath, T Perera, C Welegedara, D Prasad.

South Africa: G Smith (captain), A Petersen, H Amla, J Kallis, AB de Villiers (vice captain), J Rudolph, M Boucher (keeper), V Philander, D Steyn, M Morkel, I Tahir.

Mini-Scorecard:

South Africa 1st Innings 580-4 declared (139 overs, 4.17 rpo)
J Kallis 224 (325) D Prasad 2-154
AB de Villiers 160 (205) C Welegedara 1-107

Sri Lanka 1st innings: 149-2 (39 overs, 3.82 rpo)
T Dilshan 78 (79) I Tahir 1-15
K Sangakkara 35* (72) M Morkel 1-55

Sri Lanka trail by 431 runs with 8 wickets in hand.

File Photograph