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Cricket news - Kusal Perera resists to keep Sri Lanka in the game

Kusal Perera is unbeaten on 56

After a frustrating initial half hour, it took Dale Steyn just three deliveries to rattle Sri Lanka in the first session on day four in Durban on Saturday (February 16). Sri Lanka scored 83 in the session - taking their score to 166 for 5 - and still need 138 to claim an unlikely win. The match hangs in balance as South Africa took the field without Vernon Philander, who is struggling with a hamstring injury.

Sri Lanka made a promising start to the day with Oshada Fernando and Kusal Perera frustrating the hosts in the first half hour with some solid application. Both batsmen trusted their defence and looked keen on keeping things simple. Perera did play a few attacking strokes while Fernando showed he's got potential to flourish at the Test level. Fernando took the score past 100 with a lovely on drive off Kagiso Rabada and stretched their stand to 58.

Steyn, however, got twin strikes to push the visitors back just when it seemed they are going to threaten South Africa. In the 38th over, Steyn got one outside off and Fernando chased the delivery as it moved away. The outside edge was gobbled up by Faf du Plessis at second slip as the right-hander fell for a 76-ball 37. Two deliveries later, Niroshan Dickwella saw the pacer pluck out an uppish drive with a one-handed catch. From 110 for 3, Sri Lanka were tottering at 110 for 5.

Perera kept the runs flowing and got good support from Dhananjaya de Silva even as Keshav Maharaj caused all sorts for trouble. They ensured their stand stayed unbeaten on 56 and kept chipping away to keep the team in the hunt.

Brief scores: South Africa 235 & 259 (Faf du Plessis 90; Lasith Embuldeniya 5-66) lead Sri Lanka 191 & 166/5 (Kusal Perera 56*; Dale Steyn 2-42) by 138 runs.

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