Johannesburg - Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said after his team crashed to an innings defeat inside three days that their 3-0 series whitewash by South Africa was the worst loss of his captaincy career.
Sri Lanka lost 16 wickets in a day as South Africa's fast bowlers sealed victory by an innings and 118 runs on the third day of the third and final Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Saturday.
The tourists were bowled out for 131 and 177 as South Africa's four fast bowlers provided a relentless challenge on a pace-friendly pitch.
"I have been part of many defeats, but as a captain it is certainly the worst defeat," said Mathews.Mathews said that he could not blame poor preparation for their failure to cope with fast, grassy pitches.
"We did our best by preparing pitches in Sri Lanka with lots of grass but unfortunately we couldn't handle it. We also prepared by practicing on bouncy surfaces."
The Sri Lanka captain said he had no quibble with home teams preparing pitches that suited them.
"All teams want to win so you use home advantage to win games. Teams come to the sub-continent and they struggle. We beat Australia 3-0 but we need to find a way to win overseas as well. Maybe we need to play with more grass on our wickets at home."
Mathews pointed out that it was a young and inexperienced team.
"Only three of our guys have played in South Africa before. We need to give these young players a chance. It is not easy to play in these conditions against four seamers of this calibre," he added.In a dismal day for the tourists, Sri Lanka were able to add only 51 runs to their overnight first innings total of 80 for four and seldom looked like providing sustained resistance in the second innings, despite a fighting 50 by opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne.
South Africa new cap Duanne Olivier took five wickets for 57 runs in the match, while left-armer Wayne Parnell, in his first Test in three years, took six for 89.