Dubai - Geoff Marsh said on Wednesday that Australia's capitulation for a mere 47 in the first Test against South Africa was a "one off" thing and that his country's team is still one of the top sides in the world.
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South Africa won the Test at Cape Town by eight wickets after a tumultous second day's play when 21 wickets fell with the hosts bowled out for 96 before Australia were shot out for their fourth lowest total in all Tests.
Marsh said Australia were still a very good team.
"I didn't have time to watch it as we were in training," said Marsh, who is here as Sri Lankan coach taking on Pakistan in the one-day series. "That was an unbelievable day of cricket.
"I definitely think that's one off for Australia, Cape Town is just like that, I know the ball swings and you need to give South Africans credit," said Marsh, a former Australian opener who coached them to World Cup win in 1999.
Marsh described the second day's play as typical of cricket.
"South Africa lost nine wickets for 47 and Australia lost ten for 47 but that is the game of cricket, both sides have very good batting line ups but that's cricket and that's why we love the game," said Marsh.
Marsh hoped Australia would still be able to turn things around when they face South Africa in the second Test in Johannesburg starting from Thursday.
"Like in our time we (Western Australia) had a good batting line up but in one Sheffield shield game we were bowled out for 43 against South Australia and we turned that around and won the Shield so there are those days and Australia can turn that also," said Marsh.
Marsh disagreed former Australian captain Ricky Ponting's days were over.
"Definitely not, Ricky just needs to find his form and I think he will have a big summer," said Marsh of the star batsman against whom there are calls to retire.
The 52-year-old Marsh hoped Sri Lanka show further improvement after winning the second one-day against Pakistan by 25 runs on Monday to level the five-match series at 1-1.
Pakistan won the first game, also played here on Friday, by eight wickets.
Marsh believed his team needs to keep improving.
"I hope that the boys keep the momentum and spirits up, we need to continue improving and when you play sides like Pakistan and after that we have a series against South Africa and then India and Australia and to beat those sides you can't stand still."
Marsh praised paceman Lasith Malinga, who took 3-36, and Mahela Jayawardene for his brilliant half-century on Monday.
"Lasith would be imprortant to any side because he is that sort of bowler who can take quick wickets, while Mahela needed one good innings which he got," said Marsh.
The remaining matches will be played in Dubai (November 18), Sharjah (November 20) and Abu Dhabi (November 23). The teams also play a Twenty20 in Abu Dhabi on November 25.