JOHANNESBURG: South African seamer Anrich Nortje claimed a career-best six-wicket haul and opener Dean Elgar backed it up with an unbeaten 92 runs as the home team forged an early advantage over Sri Lanka on the opening day of the second test.
Nortje made full use of seamer-friendly conditions at The Wanderers Stadium for a return of 6-56 off 14.3 overs as Sri Lanka collapsed from 71-1 to be dismissed for 157 before tea on Sunday.
Elgar then set about consolidating the advantage as he moved tantalisingly close to a century at the close of play, steering South Africa to 148 for one wicket in reply – trailing by just nine runs.
Elgar, who resisted the temptation to push for his century in the final half hour’s play, featured in an unbeaten 114-run partnership for the second wicket with Rassie van der Dussen.
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bat, losing captain Dimuth Karunaratne cheaply to a rising ball from Nortje but with Kusal Perera looking to again set about the home bowling.
Perera has had a golden streak of form against South Africa over the last two series between the two countries and despite little foot movement, rushed to a half century off only 54 balls.
But one loose shot too many saw him perish on 60 and precipitate a procession of batsmen to and from the wicket.
Seamer Wiaan Mulder, brought belatedly into the home attack, took three wickets in 11 balls to see Sri Lanka slump to 80-4, after which Nortje bagged regular victims to complete a second test five-wicket haul.
Aiden Markram was the only South African to be dismissed in reply, caught behind for five, as debutant Asitha Fernando bagged a first test scalp.
A circumspect Van der Dussen took 26 balls to score his opening run but picked up the scoring tempo throughout the last session and will resume on 40 not out on Monday.
South Africa won last week’s first test in Pretoria by an innings and 45 runs and are looking to complete a 2-0 sweep of the brief series.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Hugh Lawson)