AN UNBEATEN 97-run partnership between Arjuna Ranatunga and Roshan Mahanama helped Sri Lanka build a solid position on the first day of the second Test against an injury-hit South Africa at Centurion Park yesterday.
With no play possible after tea because of bad light and rain, Ranatunga was unbeaten on 40 and Mahanama 44 not out at close of play. South Africa, suffered a setback when their all-rounder Shaun Pollock limped off with a groin injury in the third over after lunch. His over had to be completed by fellow fast bowler Makhaya Ntini, who himself was then unable to finish the last over before tea after one delivery, which was a no-ball. Ntini's injury is not known but he will apparently be fit for today's start of play when more should be known too about the extent of Pollock's injury.
Sri Lanka had earlier made a solid start after winning the toss and batting, with openers Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu putting on 53 before the latter was run out. Ntini then took two wickets in six deliveries, having Jayasuriya caught behind for 51 and Aravinda de Silva caught at point for one.
Jayasuriya reached his half-century off 71 balls before Ntini intervened and also accounted for De Silva, putting Sri Lanka on 68 for 3. Mahanama and Ranatunga then batted solidly throughout the afternoon.