Jean-Paul Duminy hit a superb unbeaten century to put South Africa in a position of strength on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
The left-hander came in to bat with the Proteas placed at a shaky 331-7, but he batted sensibly under pressure to help his side declare their first innings at 455-9, their second-highest total on the island.
In reply, Sri Lanka were 30-0 when stumps were drawn for the day with Kaushal Silva batting on eight and Upul Tharanga on 20.
Tharanga, playing his first Test in six years, showed little signs of nervousness, having hit four boundaries in his 40-ball innings so far.
Earlier, it was Duminy (100 not out) who stole the show with a superb rearguard action after opener Dean Elgar had laid the foundation for a good total with a 103-run knock on day one.
Duminy, dropped on 82 by Dilruwan Perera, was given a standing ovation from his mates in the dressing room after he completed his fourth Test century.
He shared valuable partnerships with tailenders Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel (22), whose dismissal in the 167th over prompted new South African skipper Hashim Amla to declare the innings.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the century until I got into my eighties,” said Duminy after the day’s play. “But yes, it’s always pleasing to get to triple figures in these conditions.
“The biggest challenge was the spinners and trying to marshall partnerships with the tailenders, especially Morkel,” he said.
“Still there is plenty of hard work to be done. Tomorrow [Friday] is going to be crucial in setting up the game for us. Hopefully, we can make some early inroads.”
The morning session belonged to Quinton de Kock who hit a maiden Test 50 after resuming the day at his overnight score of 17.
The rookie batsman, playing his second Test after making his debut in February, hit six fours in his promising 90-ball innings.
A smashing cover-drive off slow bowler Dilruwan Perera (4-162) and another through point that raced to the boundary were the highlights of his innings.
But Perera earned his revenge when he sent back De Kock with a sharp turning delivery that the batsman edged in the slips to give Mahela Jayawardene his 198th catch.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2014.
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