Rex Clementine in Johannesburg
South Africa’s captain Francois Du Plessis says that the Sri Lankans have lacked consistency and patience during the Test series against his side.
South Africa have already won the series with a match to spare. Du Plessis made these remarks lead up to the third and final Test between the countries in Johannesburg on Thursday.
“Sri Lanka have been challenged in this series and we have been more consistent. They have shown signs of what they can do as a team. They have got the seam bowlers in these conditions to challenge us. But they have not done that against us consistently. If they start doing that, they can do exactly what we have done. The batting department hasn’t had guys anchoring the innings and applying for long hours. We have also found conditions challenging. But we have been better in our applications. We have been more patient waiting for the bowlers to make mistakes,” Du Plessis told journalists.
Sri Lanka came to South Africa having won five Tests in row. They whitewashed Australia at home 3-0 before beating Zimbabwe in a two Test series. But in South Africa their batsmen have been exposed by South Africa’s fast bowlers.
“There’s no weak team in Test cricket. For me it’s important being ruthless and try to dominate. That’s something we have spoken a lot about. We need to look forward to be the team we want to be in the future. The best teams in the world are the ones that travel well and play well in all conditions. That’s the challenge for the Sri Lankans. They are not playing as well as they would like in foreign conditions. A few months ago they beat Australia which is an amazing Test team. They beat Australia 3-0. It’s about application. We don’t see them as weak, but they are better in playing in their own conditions,” Du Plessis added.
Du Plessis promised that South Africa will not give the Sri Lankans any breathing space and will go for a 3-0 whitewash. South Africa had a chance to whitewash Australia down under last year, but missed out on that opportunity.
The premature retirement of fast bowler Kyle Abbott to take up a Kolpak deal in between the series has upset South Africa’s cricket hierarchy.
There were similar distractions in Australia when the ball tampering episode ahead of the third and final Test in Adelaide took the momentum away from them.
“I use the Australian series as an example. Once again we have played extraordinary cricket. We are up in the series 2-0. We have dominated as a team and there is this other stuff that takes the shine off the performances. That is draining. In a perfect world you don’t want. We respect Kyle’s decision and we need to now look forward to building a new bowling unit. We have to look for who is the next guy who is going to lead our attack for the next five years.”
Du Plessis praised former captain Hashim Amla, who will become the eighth South African to feature in 100 Tests during the third Test.
“Hashim has been the rock of our batting. He is the most consistent player that we have had apart from Jacques Kallis. He offers us a lot off the field too. What he has done to my game is amazing. When he is scoring runs or not scoring runs he is the same person. That brings calmness to the dressing room. Certainly me as a player, I have learned a lot from him.”