Rangana Herath dismissed Faf du Plessis, the South Africa captain, shortly before tea as Sri Lanka kept the home team under pressure on the first day of the second Test at Newlands in Cape Town on Monday (January 2).
South Africa were 147 for 4 at tea after being asked to bat, with Dean Elgar, the opener, unbeaten on 76.
Du Plessis edged a drive against Herath to slip and was caught by Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lanka captain, for 38, seven runs after being dropped at mid-off by Upul Tharanga off the same bowler.
Elgar and du Plessis steadied the South African innings after a double-strike by Lahiru Kumara, the 19-year-old right-arm medium pacer, in the first session by putting on 76 for the fourth wicket.
Mathews’s decision to send South Africa in on a grassy pitch paid an early dividend when Stephen Cook was caught behind off Suranga Lakmal in the first over without a run on the board.
Elgar and Hashim Amla seemed to have weathered the storm as they took the total to 66 shortly before lunch. But the script changed dramatically in the third over sent down by Kumara, playing in only his third Test and sixth first-class match. Building up good pace, the strongly-built Kumara bowled Amla between bat and pad for 29 and followed up five balls later when JP Duminy gloved a catch down the leg side to be caught by a diving Kusal Mendis behind the stumps. Mendis was keeping wicket in place of Dinesh Chandimal, although Chandimal remained in the XI as a batsman.
Elgar played a chanceless innings with scarcely a loose shot. He reached 50 off 87 balls with eight fours and had faced 146 deliveries, adding another three boundaries, by tea.
Herath did not enter the attack until the 42nd over but despite not getting any assistance from the pitch took 1 for 9 in seven overs.