South Africa bounce back in the first one-dayer as the Lankans discover the good, the bad and the ugly – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE.
BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE
Sri Lanka can celebrate the good, the bad and the ugly since their fantastic Test series win over South Africa after a dismal batting performance gave the home team a morale boosting effortless win in the first one-dayer in Johannesburg.
That Test success appears to be quickly fading into a distant memory unless the plucky Lankans can discover a winning combination to be competitive in the four games ahead.
The good was the discovery of a brilliant new talent in debutant Oshada Fernando who followed his Test series heroics with a masterly 49 before being unfortunately run out. His stroke play and cool , calm confidence overshadowed many of the more experienced campaigners in the squad as he deftly handled the South African attack smacking them to all parts in his entertaining knock. He is certainly a player to watch over the years.
The bad was the batting which recovered from the quick exits of Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga to irrational shot selection and then going on to 195 for 5 in 36.2 overs before they folded to a measly 231 in 47 overs which was almost unforgivable. Only three batsmen, Oshada Fernando (49), Kusal Mendis (60), and Dhananjaya de Silva (39), made score worth a mention as the others looked lost at sea on a track that seemed to have no terrors.
A score of 231 always suggested that the game would not go the distance as South African Skipper Faf du Plessis 112 off 114 balls and Quentin De Kok 81 off 72 balls raced to the target with more than 11 overs remaining
The ugly was the evidence of the spat between skipper Lasith Malinga and experienced Thisara Perera appeared not over and done with. Perera who is capable of turning a game on its head with his incredible talent appeared listless while batting with Malinga and the shot he offered to get out looked like fielding practice to David Miller at short cover. This, when the team urgently needed an injection of runs to lift them from a domino effect as wickets fell around him in quick succession.
The fact that they did not bat out their allotted overs is a disturbing statistic which needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. It appears to suggest that there is a lack of genuine all-rounders in the squad or the selection process needs some tampering.
As they move to Centurion for game two it is hoped that they will show the qualities Dimuth Karunaratne’s men displayed and take the series to a competitive level. They certainly don’t lack the talent to beat anyone if they are in the right mindset.