Lenasia: Sri Lanka batted itself into a solid position on Friday after the complete loss of the morning session in the first of a four-day match against the Rest of South Africa. Sri Lanka ended the day on 226 for four at Lenasia Stadium outside Johannesburg.
The tourists won the toss and elected to bat on a soggy pitch after rain seeped under the covers, making play impossible during the morning session. When the players came off nearly five overs early because of bad light Mahela Jayawardene and Hashan Tillekaratne had put on an unbeaten fifth wicket partnership of 89. The majority of the top order got among the runs but they failed to convert them into a substantial innings, the SAPA news agency reported. It was a disastrous start for Russel Arnold as he found himself snared in front by Garnett Kruger with the last ball of the first over. Kruger struck again in the 20th over, running out Kumar Sangakkara - 40 off 52 deliveries -- with a direct hit. His accuracy broke up a dangerous second wicket partnership of 77 that had developed with opener Marvin Atapattu. Atapattu whose innings was slightly more subdued -- 36 off 82 balls with five boundaries -- followed with the addition of only one more run - caught by Jon Kent at first-slip off Pierre Joubert. The tea interval proved to be the downfall of captain Sanath Jayasuriya, still feeling the effects of the dislocated shoulder sustained in a tournament in Morocco. His 33 off 47 balls, 28 coming in boundaries, contained some glorious strokes off both the front and back foot, but going for one boundary too many, he was caught in the covers by Hashim Amla, seven balls after the break.
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We needed a real hard-work day