Tale of Two Cities: Cricket Crawls in Cape Town; Sangakkara Lights up Wellington

Cricket updatesOn the second day of the Cape Town test, West Indies managed to post a reasonable score but they could have done better. South Africa began well but after losing a couple of wickets; they slowed down to some restrictive bowling by the West Indians. It wasn’t the short of batting pace that the Newlands crowd wanted but they had no option but to watch contentedly as the fall of Faf du Plessis had brought the slowdown in scoring. With three wickets gone, South Africa still trail West Indies by 102 runs. In faraway Wellington, Kumara Sangakkara reached his 11th double-century in test cricket and brought his team out of the woods. After bowling out New Zealand for 221 on the first day, Sri Lankans had lost 5 wickets for just 78 on the board. But the veteran Sri Lankan and his overnight partner Dinesh Chandimal forked out an invaluable 130 run 6th-wicket stand on the second day. With a few over left, New Zealand ended the day at 22/0.

At Newlands, Cape Town, spectators looked for a dominant display from South African batsmen after the West Indies were bowled out for 329 in their first innings. There was some promise as Alviro Petersen and Faf du Plessis got around to scoring briskly. But when West Indies applied pressure later in the day, the rate of scoring dropped. Earlier, the visitors began the day at 276/6 with Blackwood and Holder adding 23 in the morning before Steyn accounted for Blackwell in the fifth over of the day. Blackwood tried to play across to a fuller and straight delivery that struck him low on his pads. The batsman called for a review but the ball would have smashed the leg stump. Two overs later, Steyn collected his fourth wicket of the innings, when Holder lashed out to a short delivery without controlling the shot. He paid the price by lobbing a simple catch to the mid-on fielder van Zyl. With their tail totally exposed, West Indies lost the last two wickets to Morne Morkel and were all out for 329.

When South Africa came to bat, Alviro Petersen began scoring from the start and in the first wicket-stand of 48, Dean Elgar’s contribution was just 8 runs. Elgar was trapped LBW by Jason Holder. Faf du Plessis joined Petersen and the two had added 56 runs for the second wicket, when Petersen unnecessarily ran himself out. In the 28th over, Sulieman Benn bowled to du Plessis and the ball was played to Blackwood at backward point. No run appeared possible, when the batsmen tried to change ends but the alert Blackwood’s direct throw knocked the stumps down on Petersen’s end. On the first ball of the 50th over, du Plessis charged down at a floater from Benn, missed completely and Ramdin stumped him by miles. From 157/3, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers have carried the score to 221 as stumps were drawn on the second day.

At Wellington, Sri Lanka began from the overnight 78/5 and New Zealand missed a great opportunity, when the sharply swinging first ball of the day from Trent Boult almost took the outside edge of Kumar Sangakkara’s bat. Twice in the first test, Sanga had succumbed to Boult in the similar fashion but today he was determined to carry on despite Boult relentlessly attacking his off stump. The day literally belonged to Sanga as he refused to get out and added 130 for the sixth wicket with Chandimal. Sangakkara didn’t stop there. With Sri Lanka out of danger, Sanga found a friend in Suranga Lakmal, with whom he added another 67 runs for the 9th wicket, before both batsmen got out at the same score of 356 to end Sri Lanka’s first innings.

Sanga played almost the entire day and first completed his 38th hundred in tests and then moved on to record his 11th double hundred. But his heroic act benefitted Sri Lanka. From a position of hopelessness, Sanga’s knock helped Sri Lanka recover and secure a vital, 135 run lead. 11 overs remained in the day, when New Zealand began batting for the second time. They played safe to finish the day at 22/0 but they still trail by 113 runs with all second innings wickets intact.

R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.
R K Gupta

R K Gupta

Mr. RK Gupta has been a prolific Kridangan writer on major international sport-events for last two years. Basically a Mechanical Engineer and Administrative Management Post Graduate, Mr. Gupta took to blog-writing as a hobby after his retirement in 2011. He graduated to full-time sports-writing after joining Kridangan.com in 2013. Most of Mr. Gupta’s posts are topical and analytical in nature; completely distinct from usual media reports. His narration on popular sports-events lends uniqueness to the reporting and makes it enjoyable for global sports readership.

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