DURBAN - Even measured against some of the truly woeful days that South Africa had endured on their tour of Sri Lanka, Tuesday's sorry capitulation with the bat in the only T20 international in Colombo bordered on farcical.
There was genuine fear that they would be roundly thrashed by their hosts after being rolled for just 98, but a determined bowling effort restored a semblance of pride, ending in a three-wicket defeat.
Whatever the team talk was during the changeover, it did the trick, because a more palatable Proteas emerged with the ball, led by Kagiso Rabada. The spearhead snatched two wickets in his opening over to give his team a sniff. He bowled out his spell upfront, returning figures of 2/24.
Following closely behind him was Tabraiz Shamsi and Junior Dala, who both started loosely, but reined it in and bagged two scalps a piece, to keep the tourists interested for longer than most would have anticipated.
Shamsi’s first wicket was as the result of a quite brilliant catch by Heinrich Klaasen at backward short-leg off a startled Angelo Mathews. It was pure instinct, and perhaps SA’s best moment on a night to forget.