Africa

Karunaratne steadies Sri Lanka to 93-2 at lunch

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne hit an unbeaten 37 as Sri Lanka made a solid start against South Africa on the opening day of the first Test in Galle on Thursday.

Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne plays a shot on the first day of their opening Test match against South Africa, at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, on July 12, 2018
Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne plays a shot on the first day of their opening Test match against South Africa, at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, on July 12, 2018 (AFP)

Opener Dimuth Karunaratne hit an unbeaten 37 as Sri Lanka made a solid start against South Africa on the opening day of the first Test in Galle on Thursday.

Sri Lanka were 93 for two at lunch with Karunaratne partnering Kusal Mendis, on 19, after the hosts elected to bat at the start of the two-match series.

Paceman Kagiso Rabada and left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi took a wicket each in the morning session.

Rabada struck first to send back Danushka Gunathilaka, caught behind for 26 on a delivery that rose sharply. The wicket ended a 44-run opening stand.

The spinners soon got into the action on what seems like a dry surface, and Shamsi bowled Dhananjaya de Silva for 11 to put the hosts in a bit of trouble at 70-2.

But the left-right batting combination of Karunaratne and Mendis compiled an unbeaten 23-run stand as the hosts headed into the break without losing any more wickets.

The visitors should have had Gunathilaka caught behind down the leg side off Vernon Philander in the first over, but wrongly opted not to review the on-field umpire's not out decision.

Karunaratne faced 69 balls in the first session, safely negotiating the quicks, though he appeared less assured against Shamsi. His most memorable stroke was a hook for six off Dale Steyn.