Poor shot selection, lack of application, the pitch, sad spin woes, and good bowling are some of the reasons for the Proteas’ horrible display in the first test match against Sri Lanka in Galle.
While the Proteas were expected to struggle on a sub-continent wicket with many touring teams recently failing in Sri Lanka, there is no excuse for such horrible and poor batting display by the Proteas. Nor was it just the good spinning of their opponents that put them on the back foot.
Proof of Proteas Spin Woes
Sri Lanka beat South Africa by 278 runs after bowling them out for 73 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match test series with two days to spare. As an indication of how poor the display was, 73 runs is the Proteas lowest total since readmission in 1992.
Facing Dilruwan Perera and Rangana Herath, the Proteas looked rather clueless as the spinners took 17 wickets in the match – seven in the first innings and 10 wickets in the second.
In both innings, Perera was the chief destroyer as he ended with match figures of 10/78 supported by the experienced Herath while the Proteas’ top four batsmen could only manage 65 runs.
Dimuth Karunaratne made a big difference for Sri Lanka with the bat as he went on to score his eighth test century in his 50th match, and a half-century in the second innings. He scored 218 runs in total which is higher than South Africa’s first and second innings scores by 19 runs.
Once again, the visitors were guilty of letting the tail wag as the hosts posted a decent first innings score of 287 with Karunaratne carrying his bat with 158 not out.
Best of the Proteas on the Day
Kagiso Rabada was the pick of the bowlers for the Proteas. His seven wickets in the match took him to 150 Test wickets to become the youngest player to reach the landmark.
The Proteas bowlers did a good work when they restricted the hosts to 190 runs with Dale Steyn taking the final wicket to equal Shaun Pollock ‘s record of 421 Test wickets for South Africa
The Proteas batsmen again failed to stick around to give themselves a chance to get close to their target of 352 runs.
South Africa lost four wickets for 25 runs in what appeared to be a typical Sri Lankan Test pitch.
Sri Lanka won without a coach, with a stand-in captain and no manager as they got suspended after breaching Article 2.3.1 of the ICC which relates to “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game” during the Test series against the West Indies.
The second and final test will be played on the 20th of July at the Sinhalese Sports Club Ground in Colombo.