Sri Lanka crush SA for victory in first Test

Muttiah Muralitharan took six second-innings wickets and 10 in the match to propel Sri Lanka to a crushing innings and 153-run win over South Africa in the first cricket Test.

Resuming Monday on 311-4, South Africa were dismissed for 434 in the middle session of the final day.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, South Africa were bowled out for 169 in its first innings at the Sinhalese Sports Club ground.

Sri Lanka piled on 756-5—including a world-record 624-run partnership between skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara—before declaring in reply, a massive 587-run first-innings lead.

The South Africans batted gamely late on Sunday to stay in the match with openers Jacques Rudolph (90) and Andrew Hall (64) sharing a 165-run opening stand before a late comeback by the Sri Lankan bowlers.

Muralitharan struck again in the second over on Monday to spark the final demise.

He had Ashwell Prince caught at slip by Jayawardene for 61, ending a threatening 78-run partnership with Mark Boucher for the fifth wicket.

Prince made his score off 182 balls, hitting four fours.

Herschelle Gibbs, suffering a stomach complaint that kept him off the field during Sri Lanka’s innings, came in to bat at number seven. He made only 18 before hitting a loose full-toss from Muralitharan for a sharp return catch.

South Africa were 392-6 at lunch, still needing 195 runs to avoid an innings defeat, with Boucher and Nicky Boje trying to halt the slide.

The seventh-wicket pair compiled 51 runs before Boucher was caught and bowled by left-arm spinner Sanath Jayasuriya for 85 shortly after lunch.

Boucher faced 160 balls and hit 10 boundaries and had a reprieve at 67, when wicket-keeper Prasanna Jayawardene dropped a legside catch off Muralitharan.

Muralitharan took 4-41 in the first innings and 6-131 in the second for his 17th 10-wicket haul in a Test match. Paceman Dilhara Fernanado had figures of 2-69 to add to his first innings tally of 4-48.

Sri Lanka’s third-wicket pair did most of the damage with the bat, combining with the total at 14-2.

Jayawardene came close to West Indies batsman Brian Lara’s world record of 400 runs but was dismissed for 374.
Sangakkara scored 287.—Sapa-AP

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