Plenty for Proteas to ponder ahead of the 2nd ODI with Sri lanka
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JOHANNESBURG – The Proteas’ seam bowlers need to clean up their act if South Africa is to tie up the series against Sri Lanka in the second One-Day International on Saturday.
Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Andile Phehlukwayo got far too much wrong in the 24 overs they bowled in the first match on Thursday. In the case of Nortje and Rabada, who opened the bowling, their lengths were poor with the new ball, while Phehlukwayo lacked consistency - in lines and lengths - giving his captain Temba Bavuma no opportunity to set a field to try and restrict the Sri Lankans.
In fact, the hosts seam bowlers, who, with all due respect, don’t carry the same reputation as Rabada and Nortje, were arguably more impactful - both with the new ball and then at the ‘death’ in the South African innings.`
In terms of the new ball, while Dushmantha Chameera and Chamika Karunaratne didn’t take wickets, their lines were consistent enough to allow the Sri Lankan captain, Dasun Shanaka to pack the inner-ring on the off-side, cutting off the boundaries for Janneman Malan especially in the first power play.
The best over of the match came from Karunaratne in the 48th of the innings in which he conceded just six runs, despite not having bowled since the fourth over of South Africa’s innings. Nortje and Rabada meanwhile conceded 15 and 13 runs respectively in the last two overs they bowled in Sri Lanka’s innings.
“It took us a little longer to adapt at the start,” said Keshav Maharaj. “I think we weren’t as good as they were in terms of limiting the amount of extras - (23) is a lot, hopefully we rectify it.”
Indeed in a match in which the difference was 14 runs, Sri Lanka conceding just four extras, to South Africa’s 23, is a standout figure.
Sri Lanka were marginally better with the ball overall. Maharaj was a class above everyone in the whole match conceding just 30 runs and picking up two wickets in 10 overs. Tabraiz Shamsi was not at his best, struggling with his length, but Aiden Markram’s part-time off-spin proved very useful.
Naturally there’ll be questions about the balance of the South African starting team. Given that the Proteas expect the pitch to become more worn, the more it gets used, George Linde is a strong option to start, further supplementing the spin options. The question for the selectors is: who does he replace?
One of the three seamers would be the likely option, and if the pitch is more conducive to spin than was the case on Thursday, that would be sensible, if very much outside of South Africa’s historic comfort zone.
Bavuma’s absence, because of a fractured right thumb, means Reeza Hendricks should slot straight in.
Bavuma, who was struck on the thumb while batting by an errant throw by a Sri Lankan fielder, will return home and be assessed by a specialist. He will miss next week’s T20 series as well, with the selectors to meet in the coming days to choose a captain for that team.
Maharaj, who will take over the captaincy for the remainder of the ODI series, was already speaking like someone, who is expecting better of his bowlers.
“We’ve got to get the field right for the lines and lengths that we want to bowl. There was reflection about (Thursday) night, which is good because it shows growth and maturity and wanting to learn. It's about implementing and executing that coming into the game situation,” said Maharaj, who will be captaining for the first time at international level, having led the Dolphins, with reasonable success, domestically.
Thursday’s defeat leaves South Africa stuck in 11th on the ICC World Cup Super League table, while Sri Lanka jumped to eighth after picking up the 10 points on offer for the win. The top seven teams - excluding India, who qualify automatically as hosts - will earn a spot in the 2023 World Cup.
“Whilst we are fighting for qualification points, there is more growth happening, we have to get back to winning ways to make sure that we qualify. But it’s one step at a time, if we do come over the line in terms of getting those points, which I am sure we will, it's important that we do take the lessons from our losses that have come along that journey.”
Saturday’s second ODI starts at 11.30am.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (c), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kamindu Mendis, Minod Bhanuka, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Nuwan Pradeep, Binura Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananjaya, Praveen Jayawickrema, Lahiru Kumara, Lahiru Madushanka, Pulina Tharanga, Maheesh Theekshana
South Africa: Keshav Maharaj (capt), Beuran Hendricks, Reeza Hendricks, Heinrich Klaasen, George Linde, Janneman Malan, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Lizaad Williams.