The start of South Africa's first Test against Sri Lanka on Wednesday was hit by confusion and controversy before a run had been scored.
The Proteas have named their strongest squad available with captainFaf du Plessis back in the side after his suspension whilst the pace of Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada, who should be fresh after he was rested for the T20 series against Pakistan, should cause Sri Lanka problems.
South Africa were bowled out for just 235 as left-arm swing bowler Vishwa Fernando led the way with four for 62 in 17 overs in just his fourth Test, while paceman Kasun Rajitha claimed three for 68 in his fifth game and debutant Lasith Embuldeniya turned the ball and took one for 51. The visitors head into the series following heavy defeats in New Zealand and Australia, and having unceremoniously dumped captain Dinesh Chandimal.
New Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne conferred with Fernando and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella and eventually signalled that he wanted a review. He appealed passionately for a leg before wicket decision and the Sri Lankans were ruled to have taken too long before asking for a review of umpire Aleem Dar's decision. Temba Bavuma and captain Faf du Plessis rode out the early storm and gradually started to change the momentum in a 72-run partnership.
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Even so, South Africa's battery of fast bowlers are likely to test their largely inexperienced opponents with a barrage of short-pitched deliveries, a formula which has helped South Africa win their most recent six Test matches at home.
Sri Lanka head to South Africa on the back of two very bad performances in Australia in which they struggled badly with the bat after failing to deal with the fast tracks and pace bowling which saw them manage just 647 runs from four innings. After numerous replays television umpire Ian Gould decided Bavuma had narrowly failed to get his bat behind the crease.
The lapse was affordable as Amla made only three before being caught low down at second slip by Kusal Mendis off Lakmal, who had an outstanding first spell of one for six in seven overs.
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