DE BRUYN PUTS DOWN MARKER WITH MAIDEN TEST CENTURY
Theunis de Bruyn put down his marker for an extended run in the Standard Bank Proteas Test team with his maiden Test century on the fourth and final day of the second Test match against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo on Monday.
He was unable to prevent Sri Lanka from clinching the inevitable win by 199 runs and a 2-0 series victory but both he and Temba Bavuma will have gone a long way to restore credibility for South Africa’s ability to make runs on the sub-continent.
De Bruyn was eventually bowled, not offering a stroke, by Rangana Herath for 101 (232 balls, 12 fours) to be the eighth man out by which time the game was beyond saving but his fourth innings century will go down alongside other notable fourth innings centuries for the Proteas.
These include Jonty Rhodes unbeaten century in the first ever Test match between the Proteas and Sri Lanka at Morutuwa in 1993, Jacques Kallis’ maiden Test century at Melbourne in 1997, Faf du Plessis’ match-saving century at Adelaide in 2012, the centuries made by Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers in chasing down 414 for victory at Perth in 2008 and the centuries by De Villiers and Du Plessis that nearly brought about a record runs chase against India at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in 2013.
But, taking into account the struggle that foreign batsmen have on the sub-continent, De Bruyn’s innings has a special status.
De Bruyn and Bavuma both displayed excellent technique with their footwork and decisive use of the bat that largely took the bat/pad catch and lbw out of the equation.
This was De Bruyn’s debut Test match on the sub-continent while it was only Bavuma’s fifth, one of which was a virtual wash-out in Bangladesh, and they can both take a lot out of their performances looking ahead to the next visit to India.
Bavuma contributed the majority share (63 off 98 balls, 4 fours) to a partnership of 123 that was only six short of South Africa’s sixth-wicket partnership record against Sri Lanka.
Together they were responsible for the Proteas having easily their best batting session of the series with 109 runs being scored for the loss of 2 wickets in the morning session. The result was that the Proteas were able to make their highest fourth innings total ever on the sub-continent of 290.
The Proteas now have a few days to regroup ahead of the start of the five-match ODI Series in Dambulla on Sunday.
Sri Lanka opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne was the obvious choice as both Man of the Match and Man of the Series as his consistent batting in both matches as his 356 runs at an average of 118 was an essential difference between the two sides.