DURBAN: Even after a 121-run loss in the second One-Day International against South Africa in Durban on Wednesday (February 1), Graham Ford, the Sri Lanka coach, stressed on focusing on the positives. After the hosts posted 307 for 6, Sri Lanka were shot down for 186 with no significant resistance coming from any of their batsmen.
“For some of the guys it’s a bit of a jolt to come and see how tough it is to play in foreign conditions and to play in South Africa,” Ford said. “From that point of view, it’s got to be a learning opportunity. If we are realistic and we look at the players we’ve got and the ages and the amount of games they have played, it is about learning and it is about improving. At times we’ve shown improvement, at times I have hoped for more improvement. On tonight’s performance, I was quite excited about what I saw.
“Unfortunately none of our batsmen converted starts but they certainly showed they have got the talent to play at this level and to make an impact at this level. I feel when I look at the number of games so many of them have played and the ages of some of them, if they are looked after and shown the right kind of support, in time, they could be a very good Sri Lankan side.”
However, Ford was quick to point out that there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done and they need to work out the balance of the side. With the Champions Trophy approaching in England, teams will have to battle tough batting conditions.
“It’s pretty clear there is a lot of improvement that needs to take place,” he pointed out. “From what I saw from some of these young batsmen, they showed they can handle this sort of bowling attack.
“Conditions in England might not suit them as much as today’s conditions so we will have to do a bit of thinking about balance of side and the way we can try and disrupt them in those conditions but we will have to improve a lot in all three disciplines.”
Sri Lanka will now travel to Johannesburg to keep the series alive before heading to Cape Town and Centurion for the last two games of the tour. They’ve been jolted severely with the absence of Angelo Mathews, who has been ruled out of the tour with an injury. To add to that, the form of Dinesh Chandimal hasn’t helped the team’s cause either.
“In white-ball cricket, Angelo is a fantastic allrounder. He is the leader of the group so it is a setback but if I look at where we are at, it gives us a chance to groom a couple of other guys in the set-up and hopefully it will pay us back down the line,” Ford said about Matthews.
“In recent weeks, he (Chandimal) has started to look a lot better, started to time the ball and shown he is not far away. He started this tour a little under-done because of that serious finger injury but we all know what a capable player he is. He will get one score hopefully in the next game and hopefully he won’t look back.”
Miller out of Sri Lanka series
Hard-hitting batsman David Miller will miss South Africa’s remaining three one-day internationals against Sri Lanka because of a finger injury, Cricket South Africa said on Thursday.
Miller, who hit 117 not out in South Africa’s 121-run win in the second match in Durban on Wednesday, injured his right little finger when he dived in attempting to make a catch in the outfield during Sri Lanka’s innings.
Team doctor and manager Mohammed Moosajee said Miller would be out of action for between seven and 10 days. He will be available for a tour of New Zealand later this month.
The third one-day international against Sri Lanka is on Saturday in Johannesburg.