Sri Lanka in SA

Barnes backs SA Invitationals

2011-12-08 21:12
Vincent Barnes (File)

Benoni - Coach Vincent Barnes sent out a strong message to the touring Sri Lankans, warning them to be ready for a tough battle against his South African Invitational side when the two sides meet in a warm-up game on Friday.

Barnes believed the mixture of experienced players blended with the top domestic performers would count in his team's favour when they take on Sri Lanka in Benoni in the three-day match.

"Some of the players might be young but they have been playing domestic cricket for years," Barnes said during the home side's training session at Willowmoore Park on Thursday.

"Guys like Farhaan Behardien and Paul Harris, who has played 40-odd Tests - there's a lot of experience there.

"I've had a chat with them, talking about the Sri Lankans and making sure they're ready for tomorrow, but it's nothing new to us."

With the franchise 1-Day Cup final also being played on Friday, Barnes had limited options in terms of player selection.

"It's now given players who were involved in the emerging tour to Australia with me the opportunity to play as well.

"For some of them to be playing here now shows that they've kicked on from the emerging tour and they've done well domestically."

In contrast to the new crop of players, Barnes said players like Harris and Thami Tsolekile would be looking to regain their spots in the national team.

"That's what these games are about," said Barnes.

"You are going to get different types of players, like the guys who have been dropped and want to get back and then you have others who are returning from injury, so it's quite a mixed bag."

The South Africans were forced to use the indoor nets after some rain spoiled their training session.

"The rain played its part and affected our practice outdoors, which is not ideal, but these guys have been playing a lot of domestic cricket so it's not too serious.

"We're ready for tomorrow and it's a big game for us, playing guys of international quality like the Sri Lankans.

"But, we're also here to make life very difficult for Sri Lanka."

Barnes said the tourists would value the time in the middle which the warm-up game provides them.

"I know what warm-up games are about and you try to get as much as you can out of the game," he said.

"The Sri Lankan batters want to spend a bit of time in the middle and get used to the conditions while their bowlers want to have a couple of spells and know that they are ready for the Tests.

"But what we want is a bit different.

"We want to try and do well and win the match, so the focus is a little different between the two teams."

Sri Lanka will also aim to get their tour off to a winning start though, having only secured one victory from their last 18 Tests.

They will want to take some momentum from this game into the Tests and attempt to reverse their fortunes after having lost their last three Test series, all by a margin of 1-0.

Read more on:    sri lanka in sa  |  vincent barnes

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