The 28-year-old's figures are the best by a visiting spinner in Sri Lanka. Overall, it is the second best performance by a left-arm spinner, behind Rangana Herath who had picked up 9/127 against Pakistan. Had Maharaj conceded three runs less during his spell, he would have bettered Herath's record.
Maharaj's spell which saw him break the very backbone of the Lankan batting line-up is not only the best bowling figures by a South African overseas, but also the best bowling figures by a South African bowler in Test match cricket since their readmission.
These were also the best bowling figures by a spinner in Tests this year.
It took Maharaj ten overs to get his first wicket, as he got opener Karunaratne to nick one to de Kock, who took a smart catch down the leg-side.
After that, there was no stopping Maharaj as he picked the first five wickets of the Sri Lankan innings. Sri Lanka looked set for a big total after openers put up a century stand but
Maharaj's spell meant South Africa clawed their way back into the game. Rabada picked one wicket but then Maharaj got three more by the end of day one to keep South Africa in the game.
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First Published: July 21, 2018, 12:45 PM IST