An unbroken century partnership between Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews delayed South Africa’s progress towards a series-clinching victory on the fourth day of the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at Newlands on Friday.
Sri Lanka were 220 for four in their second innings at lunch,within 121 runs of making South Africa bat again,after Samaraweera and Mathews batted throughout the morning.
Samaraweera,Sri Lanka’s leading run scorer in the series,was unbeaten on 64 while vice-captain Mathews was 58 not out.
The pair had added 122 for the fifth wicket. They still had plenty of work to do,however,with South Africa likely to mount a concerated attack with the second new ball,which was taken one over before lunch.
The pair resumed on Friday with Sri Lanka on 138 for four,still 203 runs short of avoiding an innings defeat.
They started brightly,taking advantage of attacking fields and some wayward bowling from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to add 30 runs in the first four overs of the day.
South Africa were forced to fall back on more defensive fields and the introduction of Vernon Philander into the attack checked the scoring rate. Philander was again the best of the bowlers and beat both batsmen but without finding an edge.
Samararweera reached his fifty off 111 balls with five fours and Mathews achieved the mark off 97 deliveries,also with five fours.