Former captain Dinesh Chandimal said Sri Lanka had exceeded their expectations by scoring 340/6 on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at Centurion on Saturday. Chandimal and Dhananjaya de Silva were mainly responsible for putting the tourists in a strong position with 85 and 79 respectively – but De Silva had to retire hurt after what appeared to be a hip injury that could keep him out of the rest of the match. .
“To be fair we thought over 280 would be a good score in the first innings, so this surprises everyone on our team,” said Chandimal.
“As a team we have a lot of confidence after playing today. We look forward to putting pressure on them tomorrow when we can score another 30 or 40 points.”
Chandimal said a conversation with former South African big hitter Hashim Amla during his previous visit to South Africa in 2016 had helped him prepare for the jumping and pace of the fields there.
Amla, who watched the interview in his capacity as a commentator for SuperSport television, said he hadn’t passed on any major secrets. “They were basic things,” said Amla. “He hit very well today, he took off well and he judged the length well.”
Chandimal praised De Silva, who was the dominant partner in a 131 grandstand that enabled Sri Lanka to recover from 54 for three on a pitch that bounced well and provided sideways movement to the bowlers.
“He hit great. He’s a really cool guy,” said Chandimal.
– Stretched –
But Chandimal said De Silva was concerned that his injury could keep him out for two or three weeks, excluding him from the rest of the two-game series.
“He’s now undergoing an MRI scan. We’ll see how that goes and hopefully he will recover soon,” said Chandimal.
De Silva stopped while walking between wickets and was taken off the field on a motorized stretcher.
De Silva played some smooth strokes in hitting 11 fours and a six of 105 balls, while Chandimal played an anchor roll, reaching his half century of 116 balls in the last over for tea.
Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella (49) added 99 more runs before South Africa finally claimed a fourth wicket when Chandimal was caught in a slip glove a ball from all-rounder Wiaan Mulder that went a length. Chandimal hit 11 fours in his 161 ball innings.
The medium-weight Mulder was South Africa’s most consistent bowler, finishing the day with three wickets for 68 runs.
South Africa carried out their most inexperienced fast bowling attack since 1993, with Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, rookie Lutho Sipamla and Mulder with just 12 caps and 35 wickets between them.
Despite useful circumstances, the bowlers struggled to find consistency, with Sipamla leaking 28 runs in three overs with the new ball. Sipamla played for the limitless Glenton Stuurman, who was expected to play, but was of the opinion that he had not fully recovered from a thigh injury.
“There was a lot of movement,” said Mulder. ‘We could have bowled a bit fuller. I’ve tried to keep it simple, bowling on top of a punch. ‘
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