Proteas paying for their complacency in Sri Lanka series

23 February 2019 - 10:50
By Alvin Reeves‚ In Port Elizabeth
The Proteas' Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla on day 3 of the 2nd Test match against Sri Lanka.
Image: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images The Proteas' Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis and Hashim Amla on day 3 of the 2nd Test match against Sri Lanka.

Batting coach Dale Benkenstein said there had been complacency in the minds of the South Africa players heading into the Test series against Sri Lanka.

The Proteas are staring down the barrel of a second consecutive Test series whitewash at the hands of the Lankans in eight months.

After losing the first match in Durban‚ the South Africans now find themselves facing another defeat‚ this time inside three days at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Set 197 for victory on Friday‚ Sri Lanka started the third day on 60 for two needing a further 137 runs for victory while South Africa require seven more wickets as the injured Lasith Embuldeniya is expected to miss the remainder of the game.

South Africa have batted poorly throughout the series and Benkenstein admitted as much after day two.

“It’s not been out best series so far. Pretty disappointing first game as well against a side where we didn’t know a lot about their players‚” said the former Proteas batsman.

“For me‚ we probably became a little bit complacent. I think we obviously addressed that attitude.

“The attitude you come into a series with is quite important. I think both teams haven’t batted very well. There’s always a little bit in the wickets in South Africa.

“But we have to give‚ from our point of view‚ credit to the Sri Lankan bowlers who we didn’t know a lot about because there wasn’t a lot of footage to do your analysis with. They bowled with good skill.

“We’ve given them a few soft wickets at crucial times. Overall‚ it definitely has not been our best and pretty disappointing.”

But Benkenstein said there was still much to play for. “The game obviously is still on the line. We feel a good start or a good hour tomorrow morning and it could be hard work to get those runs.

“But overall‚ I don’t think the cricket has been very good from both teams and definitely the batting. The batting has been poor‚ not only from our side‚ but from their side as well.”

Benkenstein said although the pitch had been sporty it could not shoulder the blame for 18 wickets falling on the day.

“No‚ I don’t think so. I keep thinking the next innings we going to sort it out and it hasn’t happened this series and that is disappointing to me. Obviously‚ the batsmen are not trying to get out.

“They’ve worked as hard as they can and our work-rate from a South African point of view never changes. But out there we haven’t managed to put it together.”

Sri Lanka fast bowler Suranga Lakmal says there is a belief in their camp they can pull off the victory on Saturday and become the first subcontinent side to claim a series win in South Africa.

“We are quite confident that we are going to win and we are will do our best to do just that‚” said the seamer who took four Proteas wickets in the second innings.

“I don’t think anyone can predict that they can win. It’s not going to be easy because the bowling of South Africa is very tight and at a world class level.

“It’s going to a real hard grind but we will do everything in our power to win this.”