Sri Lanka in SA

Lankans to focus on batting

2011-12-07 22:00
Tillakaratne Dilshan (File)

Benoni - Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan says their main focus on their South African tour is to sort out their batting woes.

Sri Lanka are chasing their first series win in South Africa after losing in 1997/98, 2000/01 and 2002/03 and Dilshan said it was crucial they adapted to the conditions as quickly as possible.

"We haven't played a Test match here for a while, but we have played one-day series on-and-off in South Africa. Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara have played a lot of cricket in South Africa and if we can get ready for these conditions, I can say it will be a good series," the opening batsman said.

Dilshan was appointed as Sri Lanka's captain after the World Cup and since then they have lost Test series to England, Australia and Pakistan. He said the team still relied heavily on his two predecessors, Sangakkara and Jayawardena.

"We know the last few series our batting didn't click. That's the main goal for us, to see that our batting unit can put some runs on the board," he said.

"We are carrying a few young players. It's not easy coming to South Africa, especially as they have been playing good cricket. We can't do any mistakes here, they are a good team."

Dilshan also said he was confident his board would honour their obligations and pay the team's outstanding salaries before the first Test starts on December 15 in Centurion.

Sri Lanka's players have not been paid since the World Cup ended in April but Sports Minister Mahindanda Altuthgamage promised on Tuesday they would be paid 65% of the outstanding amount within three days and the rest by January.

Dilshan told reporters on Wednesday he accepted Altuthgamage's word.

"I think they will try and sort it out within the next week. That's the news I've got from the cricket board. They are going to sort out all the payments," he said.

"We have had discussions, myself and the cricket association, the last few weeks and they promised they will sort it out next week. They are definitely going to sort it out before the first Test. As a captain, I have to focus on cricket and not worry about the payments."

The Centurion Test is the first of three with the others scheduled for Durban from December 26 and Cape Town from January 3.

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