South Africa in charge after Philander rocks Sri Lanka

CENTURION, South Africa, (Reuters) – Graeme Smith  scored a half-century but fell late on as South Africa made a  confident reply after dismissing Sri Lanka for 180 on the  opening day of the first test yesterday.

Seam bowler Vernon Philander claimed five wickets for the  hosts, who reached 90 for one at the close at Centurion.

South Africa captain Smith looked in fine form as he stroked  seven fours in his 61 — his 30th half-century in his 94th test  — but played around a full delivery from Dilhara Fernando to be  trapped lbw. Opening partner Jacques Rudolph was unbeaten on 27.

Vernon Philander

Sri Lanka’s bowers were steady, but they struggled to obtain  the same assistance the South Africans did, even though the home  attack sprayed the ball around disconcertingly at times.

South Africa’s much-vaunted attack were struggling in  helpful conditions as Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews  added 65 for the fifth wicket off just 80 balls. The pair took Sri Lanka to 156 for four before Philander  struck three times in four overs to complete his third  five-wicket haul in three tests. Philander’s destructive burst began with two wickets in  successive deliveries, both given out on review, as Samaraweera  (36) edged an excellent delivery that nipped away off the seam  and Kaushal Silva was adjudged to have brushed the ball with his  glove as it flew to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher down the leg side.

Thisara Perera took a single off the hat-trick ball, but  only lasted until the next over when he failed to read an Imran  Tahir googly and Jacques Kallis made a stunning reflex catch at  slip as the edge bounced off Boucher’s thigh.

Sri Lanka had lost three wickets in five balls to slump to  157 for seven and Philander struck again to have Mathews caught  by Kallis for 38. Philander made full use of the grass on the pitch to claim  five for 53 in 13 overs.

Dale Steyn produced a couple of top-class away swingers to  bowl Chanaka Welegedara (4) and Fernando (0) with successive  deliveries, ending the Sri Lankan innings on the stroke of tea.

Steyn had earlier removed Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela  Jayawardene, who edged a back-foot drive into the slips for 30,  the fast bowler finishing with impressive figures of four for  18.

Captain Dilshan’s rash shot gave Sri Lanka a poor start and  they battled to 76 for three at lunch after being put into bat.
Dilshan, on six, tried to on-drive a swinging delivery from  Steyn on the up and looped a catch to Philander at wide mid-on.
Former captain Kumar Sangakkara lasted just three balls  before Philander made a delivery rear up and induced an edge to  second slip.

Sri Lanka were reeling on 12 for two, but Tharanga  Paranavitana and the experienced Jayawardene batted with intense  concentration in a sensible third-wicket stand of 54.

Steyn’s first wicket was his 250th in tests, the 28-year-old  reaching the landmark in his 49th game.
Only Dennis Lillee has taken 250 wickets in fewer tests, the  Australian fast bowler reaching the milestone in his 48th match.

Scoreboard
Sri Lanka first innings
T. Paranavitana b Philander                                           32
T. Dilshan c Philander b Steyn                                         6
K. Sangakkara c Kallis b Philander                                 1
M. Jayawardene c Smith b Steyn                                 30
T. Samaraweera c Boucher b Philander                    36
A. Mathews c Kallis b Philander                                   38
K. Silva c Boucher b Philander                                        0
T. Perera c Kallis b Tahir                                                    1
R. Herath not out                                                                14
C. Welegedara b Steyn                                                         4
D. Fernando b Steyn                                                            0
Extras (b-1, lb-7, w-4, nb-6)                                         18
Total (all out; 47.4 overs)                                           180
Fall of wickets: 1-11 2-12 3-66 4-91 5-156 6-156 7-157 8-175  9-180 1
Bowling: Steyn 10.4-3-18-4, Philander 13-2-53-5 (nb-3, w-2),  Morkel 10-1-48-0 (nb-3, w-2), Kallis 8-2-31-0, Tahir 6-0-22-1.

South Africa first innings   

J. Rudolph not out                                                                27
G. Smith lbw b Fernando                                                    61
D. Steyn not out                                                                        0
Extras (nb-2)                                                                           2
Total (one wicket, 34 overs)                                          90

Fall of wickets: 1-88
To bat: H. Amla, AB de Villiers, A. Prince, M. Boucher, V.  Philander, M. Morkel, Imran Tahir
Bowling (to date): Welegedara 9-2-19-0 (nb-1), Perera  8-1-34-0, Mathews 3-2-4-0, Fernando 7-1-21-1 (n-1), Dilshan  2-0-4-0, Herath 5-2-8-0.

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