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Steyn puts South Africa on top in Galle

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Dale Steyn picked up some crucial wickets as the Proteas pegged Sri Lanka back to 285-9 at stumps on day 3 of the first test at Galle.

Upul Tharanga got Sri Lanka off and running from their overnight score as he whistled one off Vernon Philander through the covers for four. However Dale Steyn, who was steaming in, gave the Proteas their first break of the morning as he dismissed Kaushal Silva who hit a well directed bouncer straight to long leg for 8. Sangakkara got off the mark with a sublime cover boundary off Steyn while Tharanga looked solid at the other end as the hosts looked to build.

 

Tharanga soon brought up his fifty on the back of some crisp shots as the Lankans approached the 100-run mark with chances of rain becoming an increasing possibility. Rain soon interrupted play and had a direct effect on the Lankans as Sangakkara fell imediately once play resumed as he dragged a short ball off Morkel onto his stumps for 24.

Steyn then ended Jaywardene's short stay at the crease on the stroke of lunch as he trapped the batsman plumb in front of wicket for 3, leaving the Lankans a little rattled on 103-3.

Tharanga meanwhile continued to score after lunch as he launched into Imran Tahir for a six and a four in one over. Lahiru Thirimanne didn't spare the leggie as well, taking a pair of boundaries to get going in his innings. JP Duminy ended Tharanga's stay at the crease, as he beat the batsman outside off to have him stumped by wicketkeeper De Kock for 83.

Angelo Mathews joined Thirimanne in the middle to further revive the hosts. The two batsmen settled in well as the Sri Lankans got closer to the 200-run mark before tea.

Thirimanne got going with a handsome flick through mid-wicket once play resumed as the two batsmen threatened to bat long. Dale Steyn had Thirimanne caught behind for 38 just before the hosts crossed 200. Dinesh Chandimal outside edged one to the fence for a start but was soon dismissed as he sent a short ball off a steaming Steyn straight short mid-wicket as the Lankans sat wobbly on 200-6.

Steyn continued to mean serious business with his tail up as he had Dilruwan Perera caught behind for nought to make it 3 wickets in 3 overs for the speedster. Angelo Mathews meanwhile continued to fight at his end as he astonishingly picked up five boundaries off a Morkel over to get past his half century.

The skipper continued to bat well with the tail and was on the verge of a fine century when he was clean bowled by Imran Tahir for 89 whilst attempting a slog sweep. Morkel then dismissed Suranga Lakmal on the stroke of stumps as Sri Lanka finished the day on 283-9, with Rangana Herath unbeaten on 12*

The Proteas may not have been able to force a follow on on the hosts but they have Sri Lanka in a spot of bother as they trail by 172 runs with just the one wicket in hand and the Proteas will be eager to bundle the Lankans out early morning on day 4.