South Africa had been shot out for 235 in the first innings but bounced back with the ball, bowling Sri Lanka out for 191 to get a 44-run first-innings lead. At stumps on the second day, South Africa were 126 for 4, with an overall lead of 170.
Sri Lanka resumed the day on 49 for 1, and lost both overnight batsmen for the addition of just four runs. Steyn had Oshada Fernando leg before to go past Kapil Dev's tally and become the eighth highest wicket-taker in Test cricket, after which Vernon Philander had captain Dimuth Karunaratne lbw in the next over. Sri Lanka reviewed Karunaratne's decision in vain, while a review would have saved Fernando as the ball was missing the stumps.
The twin strikes set the tone for the rest of the innings, even as Kusal Perera made an attacking half-century at the other end. Much depended on Kusal Mendis but he too perished in the first hour, edging Philander to second slip where Faf du Plessis took a sharp catch.
Sri Lanka slipped to 90 for 5 in no time. From there on, it was all about Perera counter-attacking and taking his side closer to South AFrica's score. The pacers kept bowling short balls, but Perera slashed and pulled to find the boundary. His 63-ball 51 had seven fours and a six, before he fell to Steyn to become the eighth Sri Lankan wicket.
The visitors still managed to add some useful runs after his dismissal, with Lasith Embuldeniya scoring a useful 24. He survived some hostile short-pitched bowling and even copped a couple of blows on the helmet, but managed to take Sri Lanka past 190 before falling to Kagiso Rabada.
South Africa had slipped to 17 for 3 in the first innings but there was no encore in the second. Aiden Markram raced to a 31-ball 28 before edging Rajitha to second slip.
Amla got a start and reached 16 while Dean Elgar battled it out at the other end. But every time South Africa strung a partnership, Sri Lanka struck. Amla guided Vishwa Fernando to gully. Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya then struck twice to dent South Africa further; Temba Bavuma was lbw on the sweep and wasted a review, while Elgar gave a return catch after a 70-ball 35.
Du Plessis and Quinton de Kock then added a 31-run unbroken fifth-wicket stand to ensure South Africa ended the day on top.
First Published: February 14, 2019, 9:22 PM IST