JOHANNESBURG Jan 13 A magnificent spell of hostile fast bowling from Nuwan Pradeep hauled Sri Lanka back into contention as they reduced South Africa to 398 for eight at lunch on day two of the third and final test at the Wanderers on Friday.
Pradeep (4-73) found fire on a responsive wicket in an exhilarating pre-lunch spell to take four wickets for 15 runs in seven overs as he ripped through the South African middle order.
Quinton de Kock (17) and Wayne Parnell (12) will resume after the interval and attempt to push South Africa well past 400 in their first innings as they seek a series sweep.
A huge score appeared a formality when the home side resumed on 338-3 after a dominant opening day, but the pitch began to show prodigious movement almost immediately and overcast conditions meant there was also swing through the air.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews (2-34) quickly removed nightwatchman Duanne Olivier (3) when he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal.
Home skipper Faf du Plessis (16) was dropped off a simple chance by Kusal Mendis when he had one, but repeated the gift soon afterwards as Pradeep produced a magnificent delivery to square him up and this time Mendis held on at second slip.
Themba Bavuma's wretched run continued when he was bagged in the slips by Kaushal Silva off Predeep two balls later for nought, before the tourists snared the prized wicket of Hashim Amla for 134.
Amla had completed the rare feat of scoring a century in his 100th test but Pradeep brought the magnificent innings to a closed when he coaxed an edge to Chandimal.
The seamer grabbed his fourth wicket when he had Vernon Philander caught by the wicketkeeper for a duck.
The morning session was a far cry from the imperious batting display from the home side on Thursday, when Amla and JP Duminy (155) put on 292 for the third wicket to guide the hosts into a dominant position.
South Africa, however, will not be too displeased to see the balance of the contest shift back to the bowlers, aware that Sri Lanka's top score in the series has been just 281 with their batsmen particularly vulnerable to pace and bounce. (Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by John O'Brien)