South Africa and Sri Lanka shared the spoils on day one of the first Test at Galle. In his first act as Proteas Test captain Hashim Amla won the toss and decided to bat. Alviro Petersen and Dean Elgar started well for the tourists.
It took 34 morning deliveries before the first boundary arrived. Petersen whipped the ball wide of mid-on off a Shaminda Eranga ball and then made it two from two as he cut the bowler for another four the very next ball. Eranga was the victim again two over later but this time it was Elgar who pounced.
The left-hander hit three fours in the over including a beautiful cover drive off a wide delivery that would be a contender for the shot of the day. The pair were setting a good pace and looking in fine nick until Petersen fell leg before wicket to Dilruwan Perera. Umpire Richard Kettleborough took his time before raising his finger.
The South African opted to use a DRS appeal but was overruled and had to return to the dressing room. Hawkeye revealed it was just clipping the leg stump and the visitors were 70/1. There are some fine ways to bring up your half-century and Elgar did exactly that as he pulled a short delivery from Perera through midwicket for four.
Just before that the Knights batsman lofted the spinner for six over long-on. Elgar was on 62 at lunch with Faf Du Plessis on 14 with South Africa looking good at 111/1.
The middle session was dominated by the Proteas. Elgar and Du Plessis continued to make merry as the Sri Lankans simply chased leather at the Galle International Stadium. Du Plessis, in his first innings at three for his country, stroked his way to a patient half-century.
The Titans man took advantage of a full toss from Rangana Herath to trot through for his 50. Elgar brought up his second Test century when he came down the track to launch Perera back down the ground for six. Elgar’s third maximum of his innings helped him to 102 at tea. Du Plessis was on 57 with South Africa 194/1.
In the final session the hosts struck back to take four wickets. Suranga Lakmal managed to have Elgar caught behind by Dinesh Chandimal after a spell of tight bowling. The left-hander was dismissed for 103 that included 11 fours and three sixes.
Amla joined Du Plessis but he was soon back in the pavilion after mistiming a well-flighted delivery from Herath. The South African skipper found Perera at extra cover who was only to happy to take the catch. Late in the day Du Plessis found Silva at short leg.
Perera spotted the South African coming down the wicket and shortened his length. From the inside edge Kaushal Silva was able to grab the ball to send Du Plessis back for a well-played 80. With just one over remaining AB De Villiers lost his wicket.
De Villiers was clean bowled by Lakmal for 21 leaving Quinton De Kock and Dale Steyn at the crease at stumps. The Proteas were 268/5 at the close and all things considered day one will probably be declared relatively even after a late Sri Lankan surge.