About the Match
South Africa have set Sri Lanka a target that has never been achieved before in test cricket. Based on the first innings, the result should have been a foregone conclusion but the Sri Lankan batsmen showed excellent application to give South Africa a scare before gifting away crucial wickets.
Day 5 Preview
The match is not quite over although the end is definitely not far. Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva are at the crease, both the batsmen looked the most comfortable in the first innings and would want to add as many runs as possible.
Mathews has an astonishing average of 69.75 in the fourth innings of a test match, an average bettered by only three batsmen in history, none of whom has played cricket in the last fifty years. His record against South Africa is also very good and he showed once again that he is up for the challenge ahead of him on this tour.
Mathews is batting on 58, the same score that Kusal Mendis was dismissed on, and it is unlikely that anyone else will cross that mark. A bet on Mathews reaching the three-figure milestone could be a good one to make at this point in time.
Dhananjaya de Silva got out on the first ball of day three and will want to be more careful on this next attempt to navigate the morning session. With two hundreds and two fifties in ten innings before this test, Dhananjaya de Silva has had an excellent start to his career.
The consummate ease that he displayed in the first innings will give Sri Lankan fans hope and they will hope that he can add valuable runs with Angelo Mathews.
South Africa is playing without a genuine all-rounder since the retirement of Kallis and even though other all-rounders have been tired, no one has been able to cement their place. Day 4 was another occasion when having only four frontline bowlers meant that a very heavy workload was shared among the three fast bowlers.
It will be interesting to see how they hold up especially as the gap between the first and second test match is just a couple of days.
Kagiso Rabada was looking a little tired but put in a very impressive spell late in the day. Abbot and Philander were threatening without having the same venom that they displayed in the first innings. The role of Keshav Maharaj will be very important going into the last day especially as there was evidence of significant turn on offer.
With five Sri Lankan wickets already down, one of which was a run-out, and the others shared equally between Maharaj and Rabada, the likelihood of Abbot or Philander being the top wicket taker of the innings is very low.
We would recommend backing Keshav Maharaj to pick the most number of wickets considering the amount of overs he is likely to bowl.
The result of this match is still all but certain to be a South African victory. The time it takes to reach that milestone is the only question of interest