Sri Lankans arrive in Johannesburg to avoid whitewash

Rex Clementine
reporting from Cape Town


The national cricket team will take wing to Johannesburg today (Saturday), morning to prepare for the third and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers. The second Test here in Cape Town finished with a day to spare and the Sri Lankans will have six days to prepare for the challenge in the final game. The tourists are facing the prospect of a 3-0

whitewash, having suffered heavy defeats in the first two Tests.

Sri Lanka’s batsmen have been so poor in the series that among the seven of them they have managed just two half-centuries after four innings. They have horribly failed to stand up and show character against South Africa’s fast bowling trio of Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Kyle Abbott.

There will be some consolation that Abbott will be no longer there. His replacement has not yet been named, and the Proteas have confirmed that injured fast bowler Morne Morkel will return to international cricket only during the ODI series.

South Africa’s captain Francois Du Plessis also suggested that he will consider giving a break to star bowler Rabada, who was Man of the Match in Cape Town with a match bag of ten for 92, the best figures by a South African against Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankans look intimidated by the opposition fast bowlers and their approach to batting has been repeatedly proved wrong. Lack of patience has caused the downfall of many batsmen in both games. The attacking instincts that the batsmen show on the slow and low wickets at home will pay off, but adopting the same approach is only going to backfire here in South Africa. The only batman who showed application in the second Test was opener Kaushal Silva, although he didn’t get many runs. Kaushal did something similar to what South African opener Dean Elgar did. leaving a lot of balls.

Eventually he was undone by a short delivery. Mathews at the post match media briefing praised Elgar’s approach. After Sri Lanka had put the South Africans in, on a greenish wicket, the left-handed batsman occupied the crease for more than six hours as he posted his second Test hundred against Sri Lanka.

"Elgar was leaving a lot of balls. He scored off whatever he had got on his legs. He’s keeping it pretty simple. He has made us work extremely hard for his wicket. He’s been in good rhythm. As much as we want to get him out, we’d like to take a few lessons off him on batting in these conditions." Mathews added.

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