Fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander haunted Sri Lanka's batsmen as South Africa took full control of the third test on Day 2 at the Wanderers today.
Kagiso Rabada and Vernon Philander of South Africa during day two of the first Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at St George's Park.
Rabada and Philander added four more wickets to the 17 they claimed in the last match as Sri Lanka limped to 80-4 in response to South Africa's 426 all out.
Although Sri Lanka enjoyed a strong start to the day, taking South Africa's last seven wickets for the addition of only 88 runs, its batsmen were once again unable to contend with the pace duo.
Philander had opener Dimuth Karunaratne caught behind in the first over of Sri Lanka's reply, and dismissed Dhananjaya de Silva (10), while Rabada nipped out Kaushal Silva (13) and Kusal Mendis (41) shortly after the tea break.
"Coming back after tea, that was the best spell of bowling we have had today, and that's something we will take forward to tomorrow," batsman JP Duminy said.
"There is a lot in that pitch, so you just have to put it in a good area and not go searching for too much."
Philander had figures of 2-26 and Rabada 2-23 when bad light brought the day's play to a premature close.
South Africa's first-day total of 338-3 was built on the back of Hashim Amla's unbeaten hundred in his 100th test and Duminy's superb 155 as they shared a 292-run stand for the third wicket.
But Sri Lanka's seamers were much improved on the second day as they made the most of a lively pitch, with Suranga Lakmal unlucky not to pick up early wickets in a fierce spell up front.
Angelo Mathews was also accurate and dismissed nightwatchman Duanne Olivier, before Nuwan Pradeep hit the line and length required to find the edge of the bat and claimed four wickets in the morning session.
"The Sri Lankan bowlers were probably a touch too short yesterday and that gave us a lot more scoring options," Duminy said.
"When we came and did our analysis on this venue we did say that we would probably have to bowl a touch fuller than you would at another venue. They adjusted pretty well today."
After Faf du Plessis (16) and Temba Bavuma (0) were caught in the slips, Amla (134) was brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal in a dive to his right.
Philander (0) followed soon after, as Pradeep's morning spell yielded 4-25 in seven overs and South Africa went to lunch on 398-8.
After the interval, Kumara grabbed the final two wickets, with Wayne Parnell (23) and Quinton de Kock (33) both caught at deep point as they looked for quick runs.
Pradeep finished with figures of 4-78 and Kumara took 4-107, but their efforts began to look fruitless once Rabada and Philander had a turn on the same surface.
"We have got to have a partnership, and if we are able to bat longer then it will become easier," Sri Lanka bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake said.
"We need to survive the good balls, hang around there and then score runs. Even if you take Hashim Amla, he left a lot of balls before capitalizing when loose balls were on offer."