Steyn, Morkel help South Africa to 153-run victory
GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — South Africa pace bowlers Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel grabbed four wickets each to lead the tourists to a 153-run win over Sri Lanka on Friday in the first game of their two-test series.
Steyn grabbed 4-45 and Morkel 4-29 as the Proteas bowled out Sri Lanka for 216 on Sunday after being set a target of 370 to win.
The pace duo swung the ball effectively on a Galle pitch that usually helps spinners rather than pace bowlers.
Sri Lanka slipped badly from 110-1 overnight, when a keen contest seemed to be in the offing with Kumar Sangakkara leading the charge.
Sangakkara was the highest scorer for Sri Lanka with 76 but after he departed, there was little resistance.
Steyn moved the ball late and all his dismissals in the second innings came off edges, with three of them taken by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and one in the slips. He was named man of the match as he finished with a match haul of 9-99 after taking 5-54 in the first innings.
Steyn was supported well by Morkel, who did not give away any easy runs, and claimed the last two wickets to ensure a quick end.
Steyn and Morkel justified new captain Hashim Amla’s decision to declare at tea on the fourth day, giving Sri Lanka a full four sessions to chase the target.
“I didn’t doubt the declaration, we needed a lot of overs and 370 was good enough I thought,” Amla said. “The toss was pretty crucial. It was pretty difficult (to bat) in the third and fourth innings.”
South Africa, which has not lost an away series since its last tour of Sri Lanka in 2006, will wrest back the No.1 ranking in tests from Australia if it also wins the second test.
“The South Africans outplayed us on all five days and that’s why they are the No.2 team,” Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said. “It was a disappointing performance. I don’t mind losing games after playing good cricket, but in this game we were disappointing.”
Sangakkara, who was dropped by de Kock off Morkel on 65, was out to a loose shot in the first session to effectively signal the end of a fight. He pulled a short delivery from Duminy straight to Hashim Amla at short mid-wicket.
Sangakkara, 58 overnight, struck one six and nine fours.
Earlier, Steyn had got the early breakthrough when he had Silva caught behind with a superb low one-handed catch by de Kock. The dismissal set the tone for the day as batsmen kept edging the ball behind the stumps with the bowlers getting sharp movement with the old ball.
The second test of the series will be played in Colombo from Thursday.
South Africa won a preceding three-game one-day series 2-1.