Sri Lanka received a huge blow in their pursuit of a historic series win in South Africa after left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya was ruled out of the second Test in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.
The Sri Lankans reduced to South Africa to 157-7 before the hosts recovered to make 222. In reply, Sri Lanka were reduced to 60-3 by stumps.
Their day worsened as spinner Embuldeniya was ruled out for a period of six weeks as he dislocated his finger while attempting a return catch of Kagiso Rabada. He left the field with a bloody finger and scans revealed a dislocated left thumb.
Such is the extent of the injury that Embuldeniya was scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday night itself.
The left-arm spinner is the only frontline spinner in the team and his injury leaves Sri Lanka one bowler and one gutsy lower order batsman down. Skipper Dimuth Karunaratne bowled seam up on the opening day and got appreciable movement, getting the scalp of skipper Faf du Plessis. He might have to bowl many more overs. Dhanajaya de Silva picked up two wickets with his off spin on Thursday and will have to share the burden as well.
Earlier, only four South African batsmen reached double figures, with opener Aiden Markram anchoring the top order with 60 before Quinton de Kock provided a counter-attacking 86 from 87 balls. Rabada added a valuable 22 and put on 59 with De Kock as the Proteas laboured past 200 in a match they need to win to level the series.
Then in the final session, pace bowler Duanne Olivier took two wickets to bring some cheers to the hosts’ dressing room.
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