“We were thinking of a 280-plus score,” said Chandimal, who started carefully before cutting free to hit 11 fours in his innings.
The first 30 balls is very important but after that you have to score runs. That was my plan and I executed that well. And we as a team put a really good total on the board.
A total somewhere near 400 would be a fabulous start for the Sri Lankans.
The tourists played with adventure for most of the day. It didn’t pay off early when skipper Karunaratne (22), Kusal Mendis (12) and Kusal Perera (16) all fell as they went at the South African bowlers.
Karunaratne chopped a cut shot onto his own stumps, Mendis hit a pull shot straight up in the air and Perera flashed at a ball way wide of off stump to edge to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, South Africa’s new test captain.
Perera’s strike was the first of three wickets on the day for Wiaan Mulder, who was the Proteas’ best bowler with his 3-68.
De Silva’s attacking approach did pay off before his flourishing century stand with Chandimal was interrupted by his injury. He hit 11 fours and a six and his 79 came at a strike rate of 75.
Sri Lanka scored at a brisk four runs an over in every session of the first day as a South African attack missing strike bowler Kagiso Rabada through a hip injury struggled to impose themselves.
I dont think the guys are happy with the performance out there today, Mulder said. We didnt execute. We gave them a couple of freebies and they got away from us.
Both teams are playing their first test in nearly a year after they had series called off because of the coronavirus pandemic, and Sri Lanka appeared to have found its feet first. Karunaratne’s team is also surely emboldened by the fact that it became the first Asian team to win a test series in South Africa when it shocked everyone to take a two-match series 2-0 in early 2019.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports