GALLE, Sri Lanka (AP) — South Africa slumped to 86 for six at lunch on the second day of the first cricket test against Sri Lanka on Friday, with the visitors facing the prospect of being bowled out for their lowest total against Sri Lanka.
South Africa trailed Sri Lanka's first-innings total of 287 by 201 runs.
Sri Lanka's three-pronged spin attack made life difficult for South Africa on a turning track as the Proteas lost five wickets in the first session.
South Africa's lowest against Sri Lanka in tests was 168 made in Durban in 2011.
Night watchman Keshav Maharaj was the first to go Friday when he was trapped leg before wicket by veteran Rangana Herath in the third over of the morning. Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera then had Dean Elgar caught at first slip by Angelo Mathews.
Perera bowled unchanged for 14 overs and claimed the crucial wicket of Hasim Amla, who was caught at short leg by Kusal Mendis after making 15. His third wicket was wicketkeeper batsman Quinton de Kock, who was bowled for three runs.
Left-arm wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan replaced Herath and struck in his second delivery when he bowled Temba Bavuma for 17.
At 51 for six, South Africa was in danger of getting bowled out before lunch, but captain Francois Du Plessis and Vernon Philander stitched a vital 35-run stand to see the team through to lunch without further loss.
On the first day after Sri Lanka won the toss, opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne fought a lone battle for Sri Lanka with an unbeaten 158 to help the hosts to its 287.
Suranga Lakmal is leading the Sri Lankan side in the absence of Dinesh Chandimal, who pleaded guilty to conduct contrary to the spirit of cricket and will miss the two-test series along with coach Chandika Hathurusingha. Sri Lanka had refused to take the field on the third morning of the St. Lucia test against West Indies last month to protest a ball-tampering charge against Chandimal.