Sri Lanka vs South Africa 1st Test Day 4: Match poised for epic conclusion

Sangakkara's unbeaten 58 put Sri Lanka in an excellent position

Sangakkara’s unbeaten 58 put Sri Lanka in an excellent position

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

The scene of the first Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Galle is set for an epic conclusion as the hosts need 260 runs to win with nine wickets in hand.

Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara put his side in a strong position heading into the last day as he scored an unbeaten 58.

However, South Africa batsman AB de Villiers deserves some credit as well as he scored a vital half-century after the Proteas’ top order collapsed.

Starting out the day on 283/9, Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath and Shaminda Eranga only added nine runs onto the overall team score before Herath was brilliantly caught by de Villiers at second slip off the bowling of Morne Morkel for 19.

Dale Steyn was the pick of the bowlers as he took a five-wicket haul, while Morkel snapped up three and Imran Tahir and Jean Paul (JP) Duminy chipped in with one wicket apiece.

With a lead of 163 runs in hand, South Africa got off to an awful start as opening batsman Dean Elgar, who made a superb century in the first innings, was caught behind off the bowling of Herath for just 12 runs.

Alviro Petersen managed to make 32 runs before he was also caught behind, but only off the bowling of Dilruwan Perera.

Petersen decided to review the decision straight away, but since the replays were not conclusive, the third umpire upheld the original decision.

South Africa captain Hashim Amla failed to have an impact with the bat once again as he was caught by Upul Tharanga at short mid-on off the bowling of Perera for 22.

Faf du Plessis scored 37 runs before he was clean bowled by Herath.

De Villiers and Quinton de Kock stabilised the innings with a 62-run partnership, during which de Villiers brought up his half-century, before he was cleaned up by Perera for 51 off 58 balls, which included six boundaries.

De Villiers struck six boundaries during his innings of 51

De Villiers struck six boundaries during his innings of 51

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

De Kock went on to score 36 runs before he was caught and bowled to become Perera’s fourth victim.

Following de Kock’s dismissal, South Africa declared on 206/6, setting Sri Lanka a target of 370 to win.

Perera was the most successful bowler with four wickets, while Herath claimed two.

Chasing 370 to win, Sri Lanka got off to a terrible start as Tharanga for caught behind off the bowling of Steyn for 14.

Sangakkara and Kaushal Silva made up for the loss of Tharanga with an unbeaten 96-run partnership, during which Sangakkara registered his half-century, before stumps was called.

Sangakkara finished on 58 off 89 balls, which included seven boundaries and a six, while remained undefeated 37 off 90 deliveries, which included five boundaries.

Steyn was the only bowler to take a wicket.

Sri Lanka ended day four on 110/1 and will continue batting tomorrow at 10:00 local time or 04:30 GMT.

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