'I'm a big fan of taking away the toss' - Faf du Plessis
16 July, 2018, 09:31 | Author: Delia Walker
Touring captain Faf du Plessis spent his 34th birthday trying to save his team's blushes but even his fighting 49, the only 20-plus score in the innings, could not stop South Africa from registering their lowest total in Sri Lanka.
Now the Proteas are deep in the mire against this form of bowling all over again, the mastery achieved by off-spinner Dilruwan Perera (match figures 10/78) and 40-year-old left-armer Rangana Herath (5/77) at Galle ensuring probably their most feeble showing yet, from a pure resistance point of view, in an Asia-hosted Test match. South Africa do not play Tests in Sri Lanka or Bangladesh at all between 2019 and 2023, but will tour India in October next year for three Tests and need to be better equipped for the challenge. "If a couple of us have a good partnership and one of us plays like Karunaratne played, that would get us close to that score". "I think the numbers would say yes", the South African skipper said. "I get a lot of drift here", Perera said. "But there wasn't any demons in the wicket at any stage while we were playing", he said.
Hashim Amla, who faced just two balls, Temba Bavuma, and captain Faf du Plessis all saw edges eagerly swallowed up by close-in fielders.
"We know the Sri Lankan spinners are very, very good, especially in their own conditions. We want to get stuck in and bat for as long as possible".
The only answer then is to play more high-pressure matches in the subcontinent, something the new FTP does not make a lot of provision for. There were one or two batters in their batting line up that found it a little bit easier, and the rest didn't.
While Perera's offspin did the trick for Sri Lanka, South Africa went in with the left-arm orthodox of Keshav Maharaj and the left-arm wrist spin of Tabraiz Shamsi. And this time, Maharaj got his man, and two others, when Gunathilaka picked out deep mid-wicket, Dhananjaya de Silva, who was bowled and Kusal Mendis given out lbw. But because of the wet outfield, reverse-swing wasn't a factor, and therefore it eliminated the threat we didn't have in our pace.
"That's what we'll look into ahead of the next Test match".
The Galle pitch, though spinner-friendly, was not outlandish and the bowlers relied more on accuracy than mystery.
South Africa's opportunity of achieving the rare distinction of winning consecutive away series in Sri Lanka may already have floated into the Indian Ocean, but they will at least be able to salvage some sort of pride should they manage to turn it all around in Colombo next week.
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