Faf du Plessis hits through the offside during his innings of 90 for the Proteas against Sri Lanka. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

DURBAN – Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock hit half-centuries as South Africa stretched their lead on the third day of the first Test against Sri Lanka on Friday.

Du Plessis just missed out on a hundred after being dismissed for 90 when Vishwa Fernando trapped him lbw as the Proteas captain left a ball that swung back into him.

The South Africans were eventually bowled out for 259, setting Sri Lanka a target of 304 for victory at Kingsmead.

Earlier, De Kock made 55 before being out lbw to debutant left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya.

Resuming on 126/4, South African captain Du Plessis and wicket-keeper De Kock were largely untroubled on an easy-paced pitch, until De Kock went back to a ball from Embuldeniya, which spun into the left-hander and kept low.

De Kock was the more aggressive partner in a stand of 96 which eased South African nerves after the hosts had been struggling at 95/4.

De Kock made his runs off 62 balls with six fours.

Du Plessis had faced 139 deliveries by lunch, hitting 10 fours. Embuldeniya had figures of 3/51.

Latest Score: Sri Lanka 10/0, need another 294 for victory.

AFP, Staff Writer