The morning session for South Africa started out brilliantly, they couldn’t have asked for a better bowling performance. They dismissed the final 6 Sri Lankan wickets for 79 runs. Kagiso Rabada got things started with a run-out and then got Dickwella (9) & Perera (2) in the same over.
South Africa bowled Sri Lanka out for 190, setting themselves 352 to win. They went into lunch on 5-0, needing another 347 to win. A task which, with over 2 days and 10 wickets remaining, was not out of reach.
I was feeling positive about things at lunch. They just had to take the target in sections and play the patience game. They couldn’t make a mess of the batting again, could they?
As it turns out, they could. They were bowled out for their lowest total since readmission, 73. What was the most disappointing aspect for me, was the sheer lack of fight, determination and resolve shown by the batsmen.I honestly didn’t think South Africa’s batting could get worse than it was under Neil McKenzie, I was wrong. Since Dale Benkenstein has taken over, the batting has just been disastrous.
In the post-match interview, Faf said “we’ve only got ourselves to blame”, he was right, however, what came next frustrated me, “we needed to get them 220 all out” Faf said. He went on to give credit to Karunaratne, saying how their total of 280 was far too much but didn’t say a thing about the batting. Essentially laying all the blame on the bowlers. The bowlers took 20 wickets, you’re told that to win a Test, you have to take 20 wickets. Well, South Africa’s bowlers did that, and yet, they lost by 272 runs.
This seems to be a habit of Faf, blame the bowlers for the batsmen’s inadequacies.
People are calling for South Africa to play an extra batsmen in the next Test, and whilst I was of this same opinion before the first Test, I have since come to the realization that having an extra batsman coming in at 5 or 6 isn’t going to help when the top order isn’t scoring the runs.
We keep on saying that the top 6 need to step up. Well, it’s about time they actually do it, because we can’t keep getting subjected to performances like this.
What started off as a positive day for the Proteas with KG becoming the youngest bowler to 150 Test wickets, and Dale Steyn equaling Shaun Pollock’s record of all-time leading wicket-taker for South Africa, there was little else.