CENTURION, South Africa (AP):AB de Villiers fell for 99 to a dubious catch but still helped South Africa to 389-9 and a commanding 209-run lead over Sri Lanka in the first test on Friday.
De Villiers walked off one short of a 13th test century after asking substitute fielder Dimuth Karunaratne if his low catch off Thisara Perera - which looked like it might have hit the ground -was good.
But, despite his personal disappointment, De Villiers' third straight half-century ensured South Africa were in complete control of the series opener at stumps on the second day at SuperSport Park.
Sri Lanka were bowled out for 180 on Thursday and their bowlers were struggling by the close of play yesterday after De Villiers shared a 97-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Ashwell Prince (39) and South Africa eventually broke free.
A 39-run last-wicket stand between Mark Boucher, who was 49 not out, and Imran Tahir (24 not out) then rammed home South Africa's advantage in the last hour of play as Sri Lanka's attack fell away after making inroads earlier in the day.
did really well
"I can think of a few occasions where they could have picked up a few vital wickets," De Villiers said. "We did really well today and we are in a very dominant position at the moment ... I'm sure we'll shine tomorrow."
Perera had 3-114 and took two early wickets as Sri Lanka reduced South Africa to 173-5 before De Villiers and Prince came together and took the game away from the tourists.
Left-armer Chanaka Welegedara returned 2-87, but frontline seamer Dilhara Fernando struggled and was wicketless on the second day after picking up Graeme Smith and breaking South Africa's 88-run opening partnership late on Day 1.
Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and Angelo Mathews had a wicket each, and Sri Lanka's problems were compounded when allrounder Mathews went for a scan after play on a suspected groin strain.
"The first half of today, before lunch, was much better than the second half. Let's put it that way," Sri Lanka batting coach Marvan Atapattu said.
De Villiers and Prince put on 84 before tea in a valuable sixth-wicket partnership as the match swung back toward the Proteas, who dominated on Day 1 but were forced to work hard on a lively pitch in Centurion yesterday morning.