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Sri Lanka bundled out for 239, in danger of innings defeat at Cape Town

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The Cape Town test continued to show only signs of one winner, as day 3 also belonged completely to the South Africans. Resuming on 149-2, the visiting Sri Lankans crumbled to 239 all out in their first innings. Dinesh Chandimal's counter-attacking 35 was the lone bright spot for Dilshan's men. The potent South African attack set up a blistering display of seam and swing to dismantle the islanders. The pacers hunted in packs and shared the spoils. The relentless Vernon Philander was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3-46. Following on, Sri Lanka's second innings story was no different as they lost wickets at regular intervals to end the day at 138-4, staring at a huge innings defeat. The Lankan lions still require 203 runs to make the World Number 3 team bat again in this series deciding test.

The Sri Lankans, who displayed a lot of character after tea yesterday, began Day 3 on a dismal note. The World Number 1 batsman, Kumar Sangakkara (35), got carried away by a tempting delivery pitched outside the off-stump to hand Dale Steyn his first wicket of the match in the opening over of the day. Hashim Amla stationed at backward- point grasped the air borne square drive from Sangakkara to leave Sri Lanka in a difficult predicament.

Morne Morkel, at the one end was insipid and spoon-fed Mahela Jayawardene with a few loosners. Shortly after, Graeme Smith brought Vernon 'venemous' Philander into the attack. The 26 year old Cape Cobras paceman operated with surgical precision and immaculate control to build up the pressure on the Asian stars. Philander's perseverance in the corridor of uncertainty reaped rich benefit when the struggling Samaraweera (11) nicked one to Jacques Kallis in the slip cordon.

Three overs later Steyn had the big fish, Mahela Jayawardene(30) caught at the same position. The slide continued as Angelo Mathews (1) was soon united with Jayawardene in the dressing room. Steyn & Co. set up a beautiful exhibition of bowling on a fine batting track where South Africa amassed 580 runs in their first essay at a scoring rate over 4.

An undaunted Dinesh Chandimal (35) did not shelve his positive strokeplay and showed urgency between the wickets. But, Imran Tahir bowled Thisara Perera (5) on the penultimate ball before lunch to spark off exuberant celebrations in the Proteas camp. Lunch was taken with Sri Lanka on the brink of following on at 219-7. It was South Africa's session all the way wherein they extracted 5 wickets, conceding 70 runs.

Rangana Herath's ambitious heave over mid-wicket failed miserably as Philander struck again to trap the left arm spinner leg before on the 7th ball of the session. Chandimal took a few calculated risks in a desperate bid to get the tourists near the 275 run mark. The new guy, Dhammika Prasad produced the first six of the Lankan innings by means of a clean slog sweep off Tahir in the 71st over. Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, Prasad fell prey to a charged-up Philander in the following over. The Sri Lankan innings came to a close when Chandimal thick-edged a ball from Morne Morkel to keeper Mark Boucher.  Sri Lanka were bowled out for 239, trailing South Africa by a gigantic 341 runs. Unsurprisingly, the home team went for the kill and elected to enforce the follow on.

Sri Lanka, who embarked upon their second innings right away trudged to the tea break with the score-board reading 42-1. Tillakartne Dilshan, Lanka's top scorer of the first innings did not last long this time. He committed the heinous crime of fishing outside the off-stump and was out caught behind for a meagre 5. The other opener, Lahiru Thirumane, was dropped by Boucher on 10, and expressed his willingness to graft and grind hard for runs against the South African bowling attack. Sangakkara played himself in with caution to defy the hungry South African quicks.

The two left-handers made steady progress after tea. Sangakkara's crunching extra cover drive off Tahir in the 23rd over suggested that the former skipper reached his comfort zone. His partner Thirumane was an epitome of patience. In search of a break-through, Graeme Smith introduced Kallis and himself into the attack. The man with the golden arm, Kallis, responded in superb fashion to end Thirumane's 123 minute vigil with a lethal bouncer. Hashim Amla latched on to a sharp catch at short-leg. A gutted Thirumane(30) threw away his wicket after doing all the hard-work.

The old firm of Sangakkara and Jayawardene faced a familiar task of scraping through the final session of play. But Tahir removed Sangakkara (34) to aggravate Lanka's grave situation. To Tahir's joy, the pitch reflected signs of breaking up a wee bit. However, it was the turn of the raw pace of Morne Morkel to strike next as he removed the other former skipper for 12, caught brilliantly in the slips by Jacques Kallis.

After Jayawardene's exit, Thilan Samaraweera (19*) and Angelo Mathews (28*) soldiered on to get Sri Lanka to 138-4 at stumps. Overall, 12 sticks fell on the third day, a far cry from the 6 that fell on days one and two combined.

With the odds heavily stacked in South Africa's favour, all they have to do tomorrow is to bowl with discipline to unlock the door towards a big innings win. Their opponents, the Lankans will look to score as many runs as possible to salvage a bit of wounded pride. However, Sri Lanka's chances of dragging the game to the final day seems negligible.

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: 239 all out (73.5 overs, 3.23 rpo)
T Dilshan 78 (79) V Philander 3-46
K Sangakkara 35 (72) D Steyn 3-56

Sri Lanka 2nd Innings : 138-4 (53 overs, 2.60 rpo)
L Thirumane 30 (100) V Philander 1-24
K Sangakkara 34 (89) J Kallis 1-13

Sri Lanka trail by 203 runs with 6 wickets remaining.