Sri Lanka in SA

Batting concerns for Sri Lanka

2011-12-21 15:49
Tillakaratne Dilshan (File)

Johannesburg - Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan blamed last week's Test loss to South Africa by an innings and 81 runs, inside three days, on the failure of their batsmen.

"Our batting unit hasn’t clicked," Dilshan said after their crushing defeat.

“That's where we lost the game and, as a batting group, we definitely have to take responsibility.

“We've been working hard in the nets, but we’re not carrying it into the middle.”

Of particular concern was the poor form of their senior batsmen with Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara contributing just 15 runs between them in the match while Mahela Jayawardene scored 45.

Sri Lanka lost Jayawardene to a needless run out when he was one run short of becoming the first Sri Lankan to score 10 000 Test runs.

Once the milestone was out of the way, Dilshan admitted, it would be a load off Jayawardene’s shoulders.

“Both Mahela and Kumar have not been batting well over the last few months and we cannot wait much longer (for their return to form),” said Dilshan.

"The run out was the turning point and if Mahela gets his 10 000 runs, then it will free his mind to play.”

Dilshan said they were also missing Prasanna Jayawardene, who bolstered their middle order, but the wicketkeeper would be out for another month recovering from surgery.

Sri Lanka’s attack was disciplined and their performance was a positive factor, said Dilshan, even though South Africa made 411 in their only innings.

"Our bowlers did a great job and only two guys did the damage," he said, referring to AB de Villiers's 99 runs and Vernon Philander's 10-wicket-haul.

"At one stage we could have bowled them out for maybe 250 but we missed four chances (dropped catches).

“If the batsmen can put runs on the board, we can put pressure on the South Africans and I feel we can bowl them out."

The tour got off to a bad start for the Sri Lankans when they lost their opening bowler, Nuwan Pradeep, to a hamstring injury, at the start of their warm-up game in Benoni.

They will, however, be boosted by the arrival of fast bowlers Nuwan Kulasekera and Dhammika Prasad, who have both recently recovered from injuries which kept them out of the original squad.

Sri Lanka have never won a Test match in South Africa and have lost seven of their eight matches here stretching back to their first tour in 1998.

“We have never won in South Africa so that is what we are trying to achieve,” Dilshan said.

“It's not easy but we are trying hard.”

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