Lahiru Milantha scored 196 from 253 deliveries to lead the Sri Lanka Emerging side’s reply to South Africa’s 588-run total at Tuks Oval on Tuesday.
The visitors were 467/7 at stumps on day three of the second and final Cricket South Africa Emerging four-day match, trailing by 121 runs.
Milantha’s score included 31 fours and four sixes as he batted out the day, eventually losing his wicket just nine overs before the close.
Sri Lanka started the day well, picking up from their overnight score of 98/1. Milantha put on a 105-run, second-wicket partnership with Hashan Dumindu (49), who was unlucky to miss out on his half-century.
Mbulelo Budaza was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3/77. He made a double strike in the 58th over, dispatching Dumindu and Rumesh Buddika (0) within the space of two deliveries.
Milantha was not daunted, however, and along with Sandun Weerakkody, added 176 runs for the fourth wicket before Budaza struck again, removing the latter for 78.
With the breakthroughs from Budaza came more wickets from Bjorn Fortuin (2/92), whose strikes included the big one of Milantha. Dayyaan Galiem (1/93) was also amongst the wickets before the umpires called stumps.
Budaza was happy with his performance and pleased to see his hard work paying off.
“It wasn’t an easy day for the bowlers at all today, a lot of hard work went into getting each breakthrough that we got,” he said. “We came here prepared for the conditions to be different from what we had in Potchefstroom and we worked hard to make sure that we squeezed as much out of the wicket as we could.
“I’m really happy that I got the wickets that I did and it makes me really happy that I was able to make a good contribution to the team. Tomorrow we just want to take those last three wickets as early as possible and restrict Sri Lanka to a manageable score.”
Leus du Plooy, who has taken over as captain of the side, is satisfied with his bowlers’ performance.
“The wicket has played really well throughout the game thus far,” he commented. “I’m pretty proud of the way that the bowlers fought the battle out there today, it definitely was difficult. Tomorrow, I’d like us to get wickets early on, that will definitely put them under pressure. We’ve been hitting out straps really well, if we do that tomorrow, the chances will come, it’s just for us to take them.”
He praised the Sri Lankan batsmen’s efforts, saying;
“The batsmen played exceptionally well, credit to them for the fight that they showed especially coming from a tough tour so far and a loss in the last game. Credit to them for the way they came back today.”