The Castle Lager Proteas can look forward to the remainder of the ODI series against Sri Lanka with the solace that their performances can only improve, after their 180-run thrashing in the first match on Saturday in Colombo. The Proteas were outplayed in all disciplines, and will look to regroup ahead of the second match on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to panic,” captain, AB de Villiers said after the disappointing performance. “I still believe that the series is wide open, I know how dangerous my team can be if we play well and do the basics well. I’m disappointed with the way we played but I truly believe that we are going to bounce back in the next game.”
The bowlers gave away 137 runs in the last 11 overs, with Kumar Sangakkara taking full advantage to post his highest ODI score of 169. Morne Morkel marked his return from injury with a solid performance of two for 34 in 10 overs, and was the highlight of a bowling performance that lacked accurate execution at the death.
In response, the run chase was off to the worst possible start with the wicket of Colin Ingram off the first ball of the innings. The absence of Hashim Amla may have weakened the top order, however de Villiers insists greater responsibility was needed from the batsmen.
“We lost wickets early on which was a problem,” he said. “We had too many big shots going for boundaries instead of working the ball around. We never had a pace and a pattern of play with the bat in hand which was a big problem, there were no partnerships and we kept losing wickets at the wrong time. I can talk about all of the things that went wrong for hours, but I would like for us to put that aside and try to learn from it what we can, but more importantly try and make it one all in the next game.”
The average first innings score at the ground is 226, but de Villiers backed his decision to bowl first in conditions that were favourable for batting.
“I still think it was the right decision,” he said of the toss. “We didn’t bowl and bat as well as we could, I think if we had wickets in the end and batted out 50 overs, it would have been a close game.”
“We looked at the past stats,” he added. “ Eight out of 10 games have been won by the team chasing, and we when I looked at the wicket this afternoon I realised that it wouldn’t change much over 100 overs. At night, with the dew and having cool conditions to bat in I thought it would be a good chance for us to chase the runs down, but 320 was too much and we were under pressure from the word go.”