Sri Lanka on their way to a massive win against South Africa

South Africa ends day three on 139 for five, chasing a victory target of 490

Sri Lanka closed in on a series whitewash against South Africa on Sunday, leaving the visitors five down and with a mountain to climb after the third day of the second Test.

By stumps the spinners had ripped their way through the South African batsmen yet again to leave them reeling on 139 for five in pursuit of an impossible-looking 490 victory target in Colombo.

Against batsmen who clearly decided that attack was the best form of defence, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya and left-arm spinner Rangana Herath took two wickets apiece, with off-spinner Dilruwan Perera dismissing Dean Elgar.

Repeated errors

The wickets fell despite repeated errors from Sri Lanka, which dropped two catches and could have had Elgar out twice earlier had Perera not overstepped.

But this will likely have only delayed the South Africans’ first series defeat by Sri Lanka since 2006.

There are only three recognised batsmen remaining and two full days left.

By stumps, No. 3 batsman Theunis de Bruyn, who survived two very close lbw shouts early in his innings, was 45 not out, with a chance of recording his team’s first half-century of the series. Temba Bavuma, who came to the crease with Dananjaya on a hat-trick, remained unbeaten on 14.

South Africa’s most senior batsmen, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis, could not muster significant innings.

Amla had his off stump levelled by a straightening Herath delivery for six. Du Plessis was the first victim in Dananjaya’s late double strike, when a ball he had inside-edged on to his pad popped up for a catch to slip for seven.

Earlier, Sri Lanka added a further 125 runs to its already-mammoth 364-run lead, as acting captain Suranga Lakmal delayed the declaration until after halfway through the second session.

Dimuth Karunaratne made 85 while Angelo Mathews completed a 29th career half-century before eventually being dismissed for 71.

Those were the only two breakthroughs South Africa could manage, as Sri Lanka’s batsmen negotiated testing spells from the opposition quicks and the lone frontline spinner Keshav Maharaj.

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