Centurion: Vernon Philander claimed his third five-wicket haul in as many Test matches as South Africa dominated the first day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at SuperSport Park on Thursday.

Sri Lanka were bowled out for 180 and South Africa replied with 90 for one, with captain Graeme Smith hitting 61 before he was out eight balls before the close.

Philander took five for 53 and fellow fast bowler Dale Steyn grabbed four for 18 as Sri Lanka struggled after being sent in on a green pitch which offered bounce and movement to the South African quicks.

There were two half-century partnerships during the Sri Lankan innings, with Tharanga Paranavitana, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera and Angelo Mathews all reaching 30, but the rest of the batting crumbled.

Sri Lanka lost their last six wickets for 24 runs off 32 balls.

The collapse was sparked by a burst of three wickets in five balls -- all confirmed by television reviews – which ended a spirited fifth wicket stand of 65 off 79 balls between Samaraweera (36) and Mathews (38).

Philander broke the partnership when he had Samaraweera caught behind off a ball which bounced steeply.

The batsman was given not out by umpire Rod Tucker but the South Africans asked for a review and the hotspot technology showed that the batsman got a faint edge to the ball.

The next ball brought the wicket of Kaushal Silva, again after the batsman was given not out by umpire Tucker. The review requested by South Africa showed that Silva gloved the ball down the legside to wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
   
Three balls later new batsman Thisara Perera was caught at slip off leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

He was given out by umpire Steve Davis and television umpire Richard Kettleborough was again brought into action when Perera unsuccessfully sought a review.

Philander, who took five wickets in an innings in both his previous Tests against Australia last month, had Mathews caught at slip to achieve the feat again before Steyn bowled the last two batsmen, Chanaka Welegedara and Dilhara Fernando with successive fast, straight balls.

Steyn became the second fastest bowler in history to reach 250 Test wickets when he started Sri Lanka's troubles by having captain and opening batsman Tillekeratne Dilshan caught at mid-wicket, playing a rash shot.

Steyn achieved the milestone in his 49th Test, one match more than Australia's Dennis Lillee.

He moved ahead of Allan Donald, now the South African bowling coach, who needed 50 matches to take 250 wickets.

Sri Lanka could have been in worse trouble if Samaraweera had not had a reprieve on 13 when he was caught at third slip off Morne Morkel, only for an umpire's review to show Morkel had sent down a no-ball.

The incident happened with Sri Lanka on 91 for four in the over after Mahela Jayawardene, their most experienced batsman, had been dismissed by Steyn.

Philander continued his remarkable entry into Test cricket.

He took 14 wickets at an average of 13.92 against Australia and was quickly in the action on Thursday when he had Kumar Sangakkara caught at second slip, three balls after Steyn dismissed Dilshan.

In his second spell Philander bowled Paranavitana to end a 54-run third wicket stand with Jayawardene before his afternoon breakthroughs snuffed out Sri Lankan hopes of a sustained recovery.

Smith was the senior partner as he and Jacques Rudolph defied some lively bowling by the Sri Lankan pace bowlers.

Smith went to a half-century off 80 balls, while Rudolph batted watchfully to make 27 not out.

Rudolph suffered a dislocated left little finger while fielding and had to have it put back in place under local anaesthetic.

(Agencies)