Thursday, June 13, 2024
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De Villiers puts hosts on top

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Centurion: A thrilling innings of 99 by AB de Villiers put South Africa in a strong position on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park on Friday.

On a day when batsmen continued to struggle on a difficult pitch, De Villiers played some sparkling strokes as South Africa reached 389 for nine at the close, a first innings lead of 209.

De Villiers needed only 135 balls to make his runs before playing one stroke too many to be caught by a diving substitute, Dimuth Karunaratne, off Thisara Perera.

He had hit an imperious on-drive for four off the previous delivery and then slashed a short ball hard towards backward point.

The crowd at his home ground had their cheers for his century cut short when Karunaratne flung himself to his left to hold the ball virtually as it went to ground. The umpires conferred before giving De Villiers out.

De Villiers needed only 44 balls to move from 51 to 99. He hit 12 fours. On a pitch with seam movement and uneven bounce it was an innings which compared favourably with most of his 12 Test centuries.

After being bowled out for 180 on the first day, Sri Lanka competed well in hot conditions until a sixth wicket partnership of 97 between De Villiers and Ashwell Prince (39) put the home side firmly in control.

Prince was dropped twice as the Sri Lankan fielders failed to match the efforts of their bowlers.(AFP)

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