Duanne Olivier, the South Africa paceman, said his team were confident of securing victory in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Durban after having reduced them to 83/3 in chase of 304.
South Africa lost their last five wickets for eight runs to be bowled out for 259 and Sri Lanka were then reduced to 83/3 before stumps, but Olivier said the the pitch still didn't have enough in it to 'blast out' batsmen.
The key would be persistence in line and length. "We are quite confident, but it’s not the sort of wicket where we can blast out a team," he said. "If we can just do the right thing over and over, I think we’ll get rewarded at the end.
Rain brings a premature end to day three with South Africa seven wickets away from victory in the first Test in Durban.— ICC (@ICC) February 15, 2019
Sri Lanka are 83/3 in their pursuit of 304. #SAvSL LIVE ⬇️https://t.co/ILua51ZiiNpic.twitter.com/7ut6rry9WD
Chasing 304, Sri Lanka enjoyed a steady start, with a 42-run stand between Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne. However, both batsmen fell playing drives, and throwing away starts.
Similarly, Kusal Mendis was caught off a bouncer from Olivier, which he nicked while trying to guide it over the cordon. The attacking shots brought Sri Lanka runs, but it cost them crucial wickets. "It’s probably their game plan to play a few shots," said Olivier. "I do think it gives us opportunities to take wickets."
South Africa finished the day on top, especially with those late wickets, but the early session belonged to Sri Lanka. Their debutant spinner, Lasith Embuldeniya, turned up and took five wickets, triggering South Africa's collapse.
Debutant Lasith Embuldeniya was the star of the show on day three in Durban but South Africa still go into day four in control of the contest.— ICC (@ICC) February 15, 2019
"I was very happy to contribute to the team," said Embuldeniya. "My plan was just to bowl line and length."
Fortunately for South Africa, Faf du Plessis, their captain, had already laid the platform for an imposing lead. He scored a 182-ball 90, and put on 96 with Quinton de Kock, who made 55.
"They applied themselves very well," said Olivier. "That was a crucial partnership for us, and at the end of the day they played really well. They applied themselves and played with a positive mindset and it paid off for them."