Bad light stops play with Lanka struggling at 181 for 7

Sri Lanka was 181 for 7 when bad light stopped play on Day 2 of the first cricket Test against South Africa at St. George’s Park on Tuesday.

Vernon Philander South Africa v Sri Lanka

Vernon Philander of South Africa appeals for a wicket.   -  Getty Images

Sri Lanka's top order batting wilted against South Africa's fast bowling attack on the second day of the first Test at St George's Park on Tuesday. Sri Lanka was 181 for 7 when bad light stopped play.

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The day started well for Sri Lanka when fast bowler Suranga Lakmal took his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket, finishing with five for 63, as South Africa lost its last four wickets for 19 runs.

Any sense of achievement the Sri Lankans might have felt was quickly swept away as South African opening bowlers Vernon Philander and Kyle Abbott ripped into their batting.

Both gained appreciable movement through the air and off the pitch. The first three wickets fell for 22 runs before captain Angelo Mathews joined a patient Kaushal Silva to add 39 runs for the fourth wicket.

Silva was the only one of the top four in the Sri Lankan batting order to show a solid defensive technique in seam-friendly conditions.

But he made only 16 off 108 balls before he was leg before wicket to Philander, who produced a ball that cut back after a succession of deliveries that left the batsman.

Mathews, who needed treatment after a rising delivery from Philander struck his right forearm early in his innings, made 39 off 69 deliveries before pushing at a ball from Kagiso Rabada to be caught at third slip.

South Africa added only 19 runs in 8.5 overs on Tuesday as it was bowled out for the lowest first innings Test total at St George's Park in nine years. Lakmal, 29, finished with five for 63. His best in 31 previous Tests was four for 78 against Pakistan in Dubai in January 2014.

Philander was caught at deep square leg when he top-edged a pull against Nuwan Pradeep in the fifth over of the morning after South Africa had resumed at 267 for six.

Keshav Maharaj edged an away swinger to wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal to give Lakmal his fifth wicket and Abbott was run out after a mix-up with Quinton de Kock.

De Kock was last man out for 37, trying to keep the strike and playing across the line of a yorker from Pradeep.

Sri Lanka was soon in deep trouble in its reply.

Dimuth Karunaratne edged an attempted drive against Abbott into his stumps, Kusal Perera edged a wild slash against Philander to wicketkeeper De Kock and Kusal Mendis was caught behind off an Abbott away swinger.