Faf du Plessis 199 hands South Africa iron-grip on Test against depleted Sri Lanka

Faf du Plessis fell one run short of what would have been a maiden double hundred after tea, after he’d grown South Africa’s lead beyond 200 in the company of Keshav Maharaj, who also made his highest Test score. Sri Lanka, though, did manage to weedle out the last four South Africa wickets for only 56 runs. At one stage, it seemed like only a declaration would bring this innings to a close, with Sri Lanka’s bowling resources decimated by injury.

du Plessis did not seem to suffer from nerves as he neared the double-ton, batting in the 190s largely as he had through the course of his innings. It helped, too, that Maharaj was striking boundaries at the other end. But with one run to get, he came down the track against legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga, which was not a ploy he had used that often. He attempted to tonk him aerially down the ground to get to 200 with a four, but did not get close enough to the pitch of the ball, and only sent a catch to Dimuth Karunaratne at mid-on. He was clearly disappointed, but the South Africa dressing room appeared even more gutted on his behalf. He left the field to congratulations from several Sri Lanka players, for his fine innings…

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