PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa: Suranga Lakmal bowled a superb spell after lunch as Sri Lanka stemmed South Africa´s flow of runs on the first day of the first Test at St George´s Park on Monday.

South Africa were 174 for two at tea. Lakmal took both wickets, dismissing opening batsmen Stephen Cook for 59 and Dean Elgar for 45.

Cook and Elgar were largely untroubled as they reached 92 for no wicket at lunch after South African captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and decided to bat on a well-grassed but slow pitch.

Sri Lanka fought back as Lakmal found excellent rhythm and was well backed up by Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Pradeep as the first 10.2 overs after the interval yielded only 13 runs for the loss of both opening batsman.

Cook was stuck on the crease as he edged a ball from Lakmal that seamed away from him, with wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal taking a good, low catch.

Only one run was added off the next 29 balls before the left-handed Elgar pushed at a ball angled across him to present a second catch to Chandimal. Lakmal had figures of two for 35 at tea.

Hashim Amla, who came in at number three, struggled to find his timing, scoring only 18 runs off 66 balls, but the left-handed JP Duminy made a sparkling start to his innings, scoring 34 runs off the first 23 balls he faced, including eight fours.

Duminy was 46 not out off 55 balls at tea as the pair added an unbeaten 69 runs for the third wicket.