|Marchant de Lange 4 wickets|
The Sri Lankans dropped Silva, as expected and replaced him with Dishan Chandimal, who earned his first cap after experience in the shorter forms of the game. Vernon Philander failed to recover from his knee injury and Marchant de Lange played his first Test.
Sri Lanka won the toss and batted and were the usual mix of Paranavitana's caution and Dilshan's audacity, adding a run a ball before the former edged a full ball from de Lange which was asking to be driven and Mark Boucher took the catch. de Lange had a second, more prestigious scalp an over later when he took out Kumar Sangakkara in the same manner for a duck. Mahela Jayawardene joined Dilshan and seemed intent on building an innings whilst the madman at the other end kept slapping away, attempting arrogant drives on the up and only just avoiding the edge of his bat. He was out eventually when he took a Imran Tahir full toss from outside leg stump and put it straight into the hands of Morne Morkel at fine leg. It was a reckless, die by the sword shot, so typical of the lack of value Dilshan places on his own wicket and the needs of his team. When Jayawardene went shot crazy, punishing Tahir and then attacking dale Steyn, Morkel sent one through a sizable gap between bat and pad and he lost his off stump.
At 4-117, it was a familiar pattern.
Then two good partnerships which improved the day for Sri Lanka.
Tilhan Samaraweera, who was quiet against the Australians at home and only marginally better in England, was in need of runs and he was joined by the young tyro Angelo Mathews. In a 45 run 5th wicket partnership dominated by Mathews crisp stroke play, Samaraweera regained his confidence against the ferocious South African quicks. Morkel, in particular, was menacing and back to his best after a lean run this summer and third place behind Phillander and Steyn. It was a partnership which was blunting the attack and it was a shock when Mathews got a leading edge of a de Lange full toss and the bowler held a remarkable catch.
The best partnership of the day followed. Chandimal opened with two fours which showcased his talent. The first was a straight drive, down on one knee off Tahir and the other, a controlled glide to third man off de Lange. He would not be intimidated and batted with qualities far greater than the senior players above him. He attacked all of the bowlers and enjoyed a share of luck when he mishit a shot intended to fly midwicket and was dropped by de Lange at mid on - incongruous with the caught and bowled he had snared earlier. He raised his fifty with a slapped four past cover point off de Lange. The partnership of Nelson, 111, ended when he again slashed at an intentionally wide delivery from de Lange and Boucher took the catch. Perera became de Lange's fourth debut wicket when he couldn't manage a short fast ball and that closed the day out.
|Samaraweera 86 not out|
The South Africans bowled well on a track that offered little encouragement - certainly not what was expected of the Durban deck in the lead up to the match. Leg spinner Tahir bowled a lot of overs - 28 on the opening day - a symptom of what may be the reality of this wicket. His leg spin is of the old fashioned variety, with one killer ball per over and one to be hit for six. The quicks still disturbed the Sri Lankans but Dale Steyn was again below his best.
An even day but its hard to imagine the South African batting line up being troubled on this pitch.