Sri Lanka had a poor start in the First Test at Centurion as they got bundled out for a paltry 180 after being put to bat first on a green pitch. By the close of the opening day's play, South Africa steadily moved to 90 for 1 in 34 overs. The only casualty for SA was Skipper Graeme Smith as he got trapped in the crease by fast bowler Dilhara Fernando just at the stroke of stumps on Day 1. Smith scored 61 with 7 fours facing 105 balls. His fellow opener Jacques Rudolph remained unbeaten on 27 (from 93 balls with 3 fours) in the company of nightwatchman Dale Steyn (0*).
Earlier in the day, Sri Lanka had a weak start losing the key wickets of Dilshan and Sangakkara by the 6th over. The Sri Lankan innings barely saw any good knock from any of the batsmen. The visitors were rolled out in just 47.4 overs with the last six wickets falling for just the 24 runs! Fast bowlers Vernon Philander with five wickets and Dale Steyn with superb figures of 4 for 18 in 10.3 overs did maximum of the damage for the hosts. For the record, the top scorer of the Lankan team was Angelo Mathews with a modest score of 38.
There was a milestone achieved very early during the first day's play with Dale Steyn claiming his 250th Test scalp when the Sri Lanka Skipper TillakaratneDilshan played a horrible slog across the line. Steyn happens to be the second fastest to capture 250 Test wickets. The fastest to reach this record was Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee who got there in 48 Tests, one lesser than Steyn.
- BV Swagath