Updated: Sunday, 27 July 2014 18:27 | By Agence France-Presse

Sangakkara 50 helps Sri Lanka build solid lead over South Africa

Kumar Sangakkara cracked his 50th Test half-century as Sri Lanka consolidated their lead on the fourth day of the series-deciding second Test against South Africa on Sunday.


Sangakkara 50 helps Sri Lanka build solid lead over South Africa

Kumar Sangakkara plays a shot for Sri Lanka against South Africa on the fourth day of the second Test in Colombo on July 27, 2014 - by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi

The elegant left-hander hit eight fours in his 90-ball 72 to take Sri Lanka to 203-6 at tea for an overall lead of 342 runs.

Skipper Angelo Mathews was batting on 48 with Niroshan Dickwella being dismissed for 16 just before the break.

Sri Lanka had scored 421 in their first innings before bowling out the Proteas for 282 to take a 139-run first innings lead.

The Sri Lankan batsmen started off confidently after rain interrupted play for an hour. 

Sangakkara unleashed his trademark silken pulls and drives to race to the 50-run mark with a boundary off leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Just when he was looking good for a bigger score, he edged to wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off Morne Morkel (3-38), bringing an end to his enterprising knock.

Kithruwan Vithanage (seven) was superbly caught by Faf du Plessis who ran backwards without taking his eyes off the ball and then dived forward to pluck the ball inches off the ground.

Test debutant Dickwella, who scored a fine 72 in the first innings, top-edged to AB de Villiers off Dale Steyn (2-49) after hitting two fours in his 21-ball effort.

But despite the loss of wickets, Sri Lanka looked well-placed to take a commanding lead in the game.

Earlier, Sri Lanka added a healthy 97 runs in the first session while losing their openers and the prolific Mahela Jayawardene.

Opener Upul Tharanga (30) looked in good nick but he edged behind to the keeper while trying to drive Steyn in the sixth over of the morning.

Kaushal Silva welcomed Tahir (1-67) with a neat sweep to the fence in the bowler's first over, setting the tone for the rest of the session that saw the hosts score at a quick pace.

Silva had made 26 when he scooped a drive, offering an easy catch to Vernon Philander at point off Morkel.

Jayawardene, who cracked a solid 165 in the first innings, was out for a duck in a bizarre fashion off Tahir.

The stylish right-hander played the reverse sweep but the ball popped up and Dean Elgar rushed across from short leg to pouch the ball before crashing into de Kock.

Jayawardene was given out but he sought a review believing that the ball had not touched his glove. However, the decision of the on-field umpire was upheld and the batsman walked away shaking his head in disappointment.

South Africa lead the series 1-0 after winning the opening Test in Galle by 153 runs.

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