A gradual but inevitable descent into cricket-based loathing and bile.

South Africa vs. Sri Lanka, Third Test: Review

Posted on January 7, 2012 by in Tests

In a word


In more words

Silly-captaincy-decisions-at-the-toss Anonymous finally gained another member this week as Tillakaratne Dilshan joined old-timers Nasser Hussain and Ricky Ponting in virtually losing his side a Test before a ball was bowled in anger. One imagines he had high hopes of his bowlers preying on a vulnerable South African batting line-up before utilising those excellent conditions himself and leading Sri Lanka to a mammoth first innings score. It’s unlikely watching Jacques Kallis score a big double hundred and AB de Villiers dispatch a tired bowling attack to all parts of the Cape was quite part of the plan. Alas, it turns out winning the match in Durban was akin to poking a bear with a stick, while putting them in on a road was like prodding it with an even bigger stick just to see what happened.

That bear was angry. Very angry.

The home side

An excellent comeback after their latest Kingsmead fiasco, and it will feel good to have finally won a series at home. Runs for Alviro Petersen at the top of the order and for the man he replaced, Jacques Rudolph – who has been twiddling about for not many of late – comes as a relief, while wickets shared around the bowling attack mean this group should now be inked in for New Zealand. Both Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla will be extremely annoyed with themselves at missing out on the run-fest, but beyond that there is little to be disappointed about. They can now turn their thoughts towards their trip to Oceania’s finest, which is as good a place as any to prepare for England in the summer.

Big Jacques is thrilled as he wins yet another year's supply of KFC

The away side

After last week’s high we wisely warned Sri Lanka would still probably lose the series, and so it has proved. After the rather shabby prediction prior to the Boxing Day game this has come as something of a relief. Despite exceeding expectations in keeping the series alive until the final game, the manner of this defeat will disappoint the tourists. Yes, they were on the back foot from the start, but to be so comprehensively beaten means they end on a low when they really should be commended for their performances as a whole. The jury remains very much out on Dilshan’s captaincy, and often they seem to lack any sort of spark in the field whenever the going gets tough. The key difference between the Sri Lankans and another side from the sub-continent who may or may not have also been thumped in a Test match recently is they at least seem to have the motivation to improve.

A second century of the tour for Thilan Samaraweera, even if it was hopelessly in vain, is the one thing Sri Lanka can take from this game. We were wondering how he averaged 50 in Test cricket (cunningly prepared roads at home may have something to do with it…) but at least now he has proved his class in foreign conditions. The other big plus point was Dhammika Prasad’s superb spell during South Africa’s brief second innings. He finished with figures of 0.0-0-2-0. Well done that man, he’ll go far.

Looking forward

These two sides face off in a five match one day series over the next few weeks, a series which Sri Lanka might fancy themselves for. Beyond that, South Africa should comfortably win their upcoming series in New Zealand, though it will prove a test for their ridiculously inconsistent batting line-up in swinging conditions. Sri Lanka head to Australia for a tri-series which also contains India before they host England in March. They will need to improve significantly on their last effort at home, during which they were rolled over by the ferocious figure of Nathan Lyon. They will at least go into it knowing they can actually still win games, which is probably something of a confidence boost.


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