After skipper Dinesh Chandimal was ruled out of the series along with coach Chandika Hathurusinghe for pleading guilty to their Level Three offence in the tour of the West Indies, pacer Suranga Lakmal once again led the team for the second match in a row.
Electing to bat first after Lakmal won the toss, Sri Lanka’s openers Karunaratne and Danushka Gunathilaka added 44 runs for the first wicket before the latter fell to Dale Steyn who took one step close to overtaking Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s leading Test wicket-taker.
Kagiso Rabada then turned on the heat with the ball with a three-wicket burst that reduced the hosts to 119-5. The Proteas had lined up with two spinners in the form of Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi and the move paid off with the latter getting in amongst the wickets as Sri Lanka were further reduced to 176-8.
Karunaratne, who had recently returned from an injury layoff, frustrated the visitors however with a classy innings full of steel and determination. The 30-year-old opener brought up his eighth Test ton as he carried the tail with him to get Sri Lanka closer to the 300-run mark.
Karunaratne forged a 48-run stand for the ninth wicket with skipper Lakmal before putting together 63 runs with last man Lakshan Sandakan as Sri Lanka ultimately posted 287 in their first innings. Rabada was the pick of the South Africa bowlers with figures of 4-50 while Shamsi picked up three wickets. Karunaratne carried his bat as he remained unbeaten on 158.
In reply, South Africa’s innings got off to a horrible start as Aiden Markram’s lean patch continued as Rangana Herath had him caught at slip for another duck.
The visitors were batting at 4-1 when stumps were drawn at Galle.
Sri Lanka First Innings: 287 all out
Dimuth Karunaratne – 158 not out
Kagiso Rabada: 4-50
South Africa First Innings: 4-1
Rangana Herath : 1-1
The speculation started from a Facebook post and soon spread like wildfire, leading to Razzaq having to put them to bed himself.
The 38-year-old took to Twitter on Wednesday to quash the talk through a video post.
“A post on social media [Facebook] said that I was involved in an accident and subsequently died. There is no truth in such a thing as I am alive and well,” Razzaq, who took 100 Test wickets for Pakistan, stated in the video.
“People should refrain from posting such fake news on social media without properly investigating the story,” Razzaq added.
The all-rounder had an international career spanning two decades in which he played 46 Tests, 265 ODIs and 32 T20s for Pakistan.
He has the distinction of scoring over 5,000 runs and picking up over 250 wickets in ODI cricket along with over 2,000 runs and 100 wickets in Tests.
Razzaq made his debut for Pakistan all the way back in 1996 before making his last international appearance in an ODI against South Africa in November, 2013.
The tourists face England the first of a three-match ODI series at Trent Bridge on Thursday having won the T20 campaign 2-1.
England are number one in the ODI rankings, with India second, and hit a record 481 for six in Nottingham in their victory against Australia last month.
England and Wales host the World Cup next year allowing India to hone their skills in this country.
Sharma said: “It is very important, since the World Cup is going to be played in this part of the world.
“In terms of preparation it’s very important, in terms of our combinations and what our targets are going to be .
“We have seen England against Australia and they were really high scoring games, it’s gong to be crucial to see where we are as a team.
“In the last year or so we have played some good cricket, in and out of India, this tour brings another challenge for us.”
England whitewashed Australia 5-0 last month and their record score at Trent Bridge last month has left expectations of another big knock. But Sharma insists India will remain calm even if they need to chase down a mammoth target.
He said: “This team likes chasing down targets. Whatever we do we don’t go out and bat like we have to score 400 runs. We bat normally and see where you are at 30 overs and analyse it.
“We noticed the last series played here it was high scoring games and this is where they scored 481 runs.
“I’m expecting nothing else than a high-scoring series. It’s always nice to see the score in front of you and see how you can bat.”