GALLE: JP Duminy scored his fourth test century and his first in the subcontinent to steer South Africa to a first innings total of 455 for nine wickets declared on the second day of the first test against Sri Lanka yesterday.
At close, Sri Lanka openers Kaushal Silva (eight) and Upul Tharanga (20) had survived 12 overs to take the hosts to 30 for no loss.
Batting at number eight, Duminy completed his well-composed 100 not out, including 10 fours, with support from the tailenders.
He reached the mark with a single to square leg off Dilruwan Perera, who had earlier dropped him on 82 at mid-off.
Morne Morkel stayed at the crease for 74 balls, scoring a defiant 22, to help Duminy reach his hundred in a ninth-wicket stand of 66 runs.
Perera accounted for Morkel’s wicket as the batsman went for an expansive drive and missed the ball altogether, to end with figures of four for 162.
The visitors batted to a plan to occupy the crease for as long as possible and wear out the pitch using up 166.2 overs in their first innings.
“It’s always pleasing to get three figures in these conditions but more crucial was my batting at seven and trying to marshall whatever is possible has always been the key for me,” Duminy told reporters at the close of play.
“Honestly I wasn’t thinking about my hundred until I got to 80, the partnership was more crucial than anything else and time to extend our batting today. That was what was on top of my mind at the time.
An eighth-wicket stand of 75 between Duminy and Vernon Philander frustrated the Sri Lankan bowling attack, which was missing one of their front-line bowlers. Philander defended for almost two hours, facing 96 balls for 27, before skipper Angelo Mathews provided Sri Lanka with the only wicket of the afternoon session by trapping him leg before.
“We realize how crucial the first innings is and to try to get as big a total as possible that was the goal,” Duminy said.
“Four hundred and fifty is not the biggest but a good start for the first innings
“It’s going to be a lot of hard work we know the wicket is pretty flat for the seamers, there is a little bit there for the spinners but it’s probably going to speed up towards day four and five. Tomorrow is going to be a crucial day in setting up the game.”
The hosts were handicapped by the absence of paceman Shaminda Eranga, who did not take the field after having eight stitches into the webbing between his right thumb and index finger after his injury on Wednesday.
“We are hoping that he will be able to bowl in the second innings,” Sri Lanka manager Michael de Zoysa confirmed.