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SA maul SL by innings, 81 runs in 3 days

Associated Press
Dec 17, 2011 at 10:11pm IST

Centurion: Vernon Philander finished with 10 wickets in only his third Test as South Africa's fast bowlers blew away Sri Lanka in an innings victory inside three days at SuperSport Park on Saturday.

Philander and Dale Steyn shared 16 wickets in the match as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 180 and 150 in the first Test to lose by an innings and 81 runs and continue a miserable record in South Africa. Sri Lanka have never won a Test in South Africa and have now lost seven of eight matches here stretching back to their first Test visit in 1998.

Newcomer Philander returned 5-53 and 5-49 in Centurion, while No. 1 Test bowler Steyn took six to go past 250 Test wickets.

SA maul SL by innings and 81 runs in 3 days

Vernon Philander continued his dream run in Test cricket, with match figures of 10 for 102.

Steyn was the second-quickest bowler to reach the milestone as he moved to 255 in 49 Tests, but Philander again stole the show as he improved his outstanding early record to four five-wicket hauls and 24 wickets in three matches at the start of his career.

South Africa's batsmen also played a major role in the hosts' runaway victory against the struggling Sri Lankans as they built a 231-run first-innings lead on a bowler-friendly pitch after half-centuries by AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher and Graeme Smith in a total of 411.

De Villiers made 99 and lifted South Africa from 173-5, while veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Boucher hit 65 and shared a 61-run last-wicket partnership with Imran Tahir that rammed home South Africa's advantage early on the third day.

"This Test's over in three days but we needed to put the hard work in initially," South Africa captain Smith said. "We needed to do the groundwork and today was quite emphatic. Our intensity was great. Today was probably the best standard that we've produced."

Philander and Steyn (4-18 and 2-36) did the majority of the damage in Centurion with nine wickets on Day 1 and seven wickets in Sri Lanka's second innings as South Africa's dominance in conditions that suited their pace-focused attack was clear.

Legspinner Tahir and Morne Morkel took one wicket each, while veteran Thilan Samaraweera topscored with 38 as Sri Lanka's experienced top order again failed under an onslaught from the Proteas' quicks on a seaming, bouncy track.

"Our batting unit has not clicked in the last three or four series. That's where we've lost it," captain Tillakaratne Dilshan said. "The same thing happened here. As a batting unit we can't be out for 180 in the first innings in a Test match."

Dilshan fell for 4 in the fourth over of Sri Lanka's reply to an edge behind off Philander as wicketkeeper Boucher took the first of six catches for him in the innings.

Tharanga Paranavitana fell next over for 6 to Steyn and No. 1 Test batsman Kumar Sangakkara was also undone by Philander for just 2.

Mahela Jayawardene was run out for 15 chasing the single that would have given him 10,000 Test runs, and Sri Lanka went to lunch 38-4 and struggling badly.

Jayawardene appeared to be Sri Lanka's best hope with three fours from 31 balls, but he was needlessly run out by a direct hit by bowler Jacques Kallis 10 minutes before lunch as he tried to scamper through for a quick single.

Sri Lanka lost six wickets in 22.1 overs in the afternoon as the match was over before tea, with Philander removing last man Rangana Herath for 23 to complete his first 10-wicket match haul. The bustling right-arm seamer has now taken five in three successive Test innings following his debut against Australia last month.

"I'm not records-driven," Philander said. "If I can take the team over the line, I'm more than happy. For me it's just about soaking it all in and going back to the drawing board and moving on."

Continuing on 49 not out and with South Africa 389-9 overnight, Boucher clipped the first ball of Day 3 to backward square leg for four and his 35th half-century in his 200th Test innings, easing the pressure on the 35-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman after just one 50 in 18 months before this match.

No. 11 Tahir contributed 29 not out in their record last-wicket stand for South Africa against Sri Lanka to extend the Proteas' already significant lead in the series opener and begin a one-sided final day.

Left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara (3-96) finally ended the Boucher-Tahir stand when he forced Boucher to edge to wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva for 65.

Thisara Perera returned 3-114, while frontline seamer Dilhara Fernando had 1-128 for the out-of-form tourists, who are now winless in their last 15 Tests and face an uphill battle to avoid a fourth straight series defeat when the three-match contest moves on to Durban and then Cape Town.

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