Sri Lanka’s cricket coach Geoff Marsh said his team was extremely disappointed with its performance in the first one-day international (ODI) played in Paarl, but was looking forward to a fresh start.
“We just didn’t execute in any area of the first game,” said Marsh on Friday, as he took his team through its paces before the second ODI in East London on Saturday.
“We have addressed it and had a good chat about it and we’re ready to move on.”
Sri Lanka suffered an equally humiliating defeat in the first of its three Test matches against the Proteas, but bounced back to win the second Test in Durban.
It was the team's first Test victory on South African soil and Marsh hoped the one-day side could do the same, after being routed in Paarl by 258 runs.
“We were disappointed with our whole game and, after we got bowled out for 43, we apologised to our cricketing family back at home,” Marsh said.
“We didn’t bowl well, we didn’t build pressure and we didn’t take wickets. Against a side like South Africa you need to take early wickets.
“You can’t allow them to build big partnerships and if you do, you are going to chase 300-plus targets.”
Marsh said his charges were poor in all areas of the game, including fielding.
“We just weren’t there for the game, but it’s not like we can’t do it. In the second Test in Durban, we caught everything and executed a crucial run out, but it’s a matter of going out there and producing the goods.”
Sri Lanka's top batsmen, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, have not been in good form.
“We have got a couple of players who are struggling for form and we are trying to encourage them,” Marsh said.
“As a batting unit, we need to get enough runs on the board to give our bowlers something to defend and we believe these guys are only a couple of shots away from playing a big innings. We’re happy to stick with them because they’re very consistent once they do get going.”
Sri Lanka have injury concerns over fast bowler Dilhara Fernando, who will not play, and unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, who is also unlikely to be fit.
Marsh, however, remained emphatic about the positive mood in the camp and said the players were determined to put things right on the field.
“We have got a wonderful bunch of guys and the spirit is fantastic. If you could just sit in our team meetings and you could see how much they want to play well and win the tournament, you’d be amazed.
“But we need to produce the goods out in the middle. You can put in all the hard work and have the team meetings but, at the end of the day, at this level of cricket, you walk across the white line and you need to execute.
“It’s another game, another ground and we are really looking forward to it.” – Sapa