Centurion: AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince combined in an unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 84 to take South Africa into a handy lead at tea on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Centurion on Friday.   

At the interval, South Africa, replying to Sri Lanka's first innings of 180, were 257 for five, a lead of 77. De Villiers had grafted his way to 56 while Prince had scored 38.   

The pair rescued the innings against a probing Sri Lankan attack who had reduced South Africa to 173 for five shortly after lunch.   

Left-arm paceman Chanaka Welegedara removed Jacques Kallis for 31 in the fourth over after lunch, his first from the Hennops River End. South Africa's leading run-scorer drove at a delivery that pitched on off stump and was moving further away from him to edge a tumbling catch to Angelo Mathews at third slip.   

De Villiers batted with great determination, pushing singles through the off side but and any poor deliveries on the leg. South Africa's vice-captain had batted for 167 minutes and faced 99 balls.   

Prince was off to a quick, if streaky, start, collecting four fours, all of them to the third man boundary, off 77 balls. The left-hander was dropped by Thisara Perera, diving forward in the gully, off Dilhara Fernando on 23 and by wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath when he had scored 26.   

A top-class spell of seam bowling by Perera had earlier allowed Sri Lanka to restore a semblance of parity as South Africa reached 168 for four at lunch.   

South Africa had resumed on 90 for one but made a poor start to the day when nightwatchman Dale Steyn was run out for a duck in the second over of the morning.   

Steyn fended a lifting delivery from Welegedara away on the leg-side and there was confusion between him and Jacques Rudolph, allowing Rangana Herath at mid-wicket to score a direct hit on the stumps.   

Rudolph and Hashim Amla (18) added 35 for the third wicket, but the Sri Lankan bowlers kept plugging away and Perera reaped the reward.   

Bowling a consistent line and length outside off stump, Perera found the edge of Amla's bat and Mathews took a fine diving catch at third slip.   

Opening batsman Rudolph, battling the pain of a dislocated little finger on his left hand, showed tremendous determination in a 228-minute vigil at the crease, but Perera ended his resistance on 44, nipping away a delivery that found the edge and travelled low to Tharanga Paranavitana at first slip.   

Kallis's 56-ball stay was not without incident.   

He ducked into a bouncer from fast bowler Fernando and was struck a disorientating blow on the earpiece of his helmet. Kallis received treatment for seven minutes before resuming his innings on 25 and was lucky as he prodded at the first delivery of Fernando's next over and edged a catch which diving wicketkeeper Silva should have taken.

(Agencies)