Beating South Africa Again
Posted on March 15th, 2015

Dilrook Kannangara

South Africa is already beaten by both India and Pakistan. It stands to be beaten by the other South Asian giant, Sri Lanka. However, Team Sri Lanka must gear up for this do-or-die game well. Having only beaten minnows, Bangladesh and a hopeless England, Sri Lanka’s prospects are not good going into the Wednesday’s game.

Spin is the way to beat South Africa as Sri Lanka don’t have the calibre of fast bowlers Pakistan have. However, with an injury, Rangana Herath is not in his best condition for the highly demanding game. Although his stitches came out last Thursday, he may not be bowling as well. A repeat injury is very much possible. Another dedicated spinner must play in the match against South Africa.

Sachithra Senanayaka is ineffective after his action was questioned and cleared. He makes sure he stays within strict rules and as a result his bowling is mediocre. He gives away many runs and cannot take wickets. Seekkuge Prasanna is no different. Although no other spinner is available; the management must seek approval to take in HPT Kaushal who is already there. He is an uncapped ODI player but has played one Test match. He had a good domestic run. Sydney pitch was not very spinner friendly in the match against Australia but HPT Kaushal can achieve significant turn even in dull pitches. As two dedicated spinners play, that leaves out Nuwan Kulasekara.

Although Lahiru Thirimanna did well against minnows and weak teams, he survived initial drops by weak fielding. It is foolhardy to expect such lapses from South Africa! If the first wicket falls too soon, it needlessly exposes Sanga too early. Instead of Lahiru, Mahela must open batting with Dilshan. Lahiru can make his appearance at two down. At three down it should be Angelo who must bat a little higher in the order than usual.

Upul Tharanaga has been dismal in his performance. His performance suffers even more when under pressure. It makes sense to keep Kusal Perera in his place. Thought should be given to play him as wicket-keeper relieving Sanga if Sri Lanka bat second. Records have been set and there is no need to take chances. Unlike most other batmen, Sanga has a lower average and strike rate batting second.

Dushmantha Chameera must play against South Africa. Perera much like Mahela is indispensable unfortunately. He is useful in bowling middle overs and scoring a few quick runs. Both have been termed ‘big game’ players.

The team should be Dilshan, Mahela, Sanga, Lahiru, Angelo, Kusal Perera, Thisara, Rangana, Malinga, Dushmantha and a spinner.

Team Sri Lanka may find inspiration in Team Bangladesh which has many Sri Lankan inputs. Former Sri Lankan cricketers Mario, Chandika and Ruwan are behind Bangladesh’s strong performance. Every chance to hold on to a catch and make a runout must be taken. Poor line and length in bowling is unforgivable as Sri Lanka cannot match South Africa’s agility in fielding which cuts about 40 runs compared to Sri Lanka. Angelo must make intelligent bowling changes. Knowing Michael Clerk holds the record for the second best batsman against spin (Dhoni being the first), playing spinners against him was punished very badly. Not making rapid bowling changes when batsmen looked set to build a long inning was another shortcoming. Bowlers, especially fast bowlers must be encouraged regularly and get them to bowl to the field set up. If the toss is won, Sri Lanka must bat first. Showers are forecast for the afternoon and the evening. A reduced number of overs and resultantly a session of binge hitting is to be expected.

South Africa comes to play with a wounded pride. Memories of 1992, 2003 and recent defeats to India and Pakistan are fresh on their mind. But as the two other teams from the subcontinent showed, they are beatable. May the misfortunes of South Africa continue!


15 Responses to “Beating South Africa Again”

  1. Independent Says:

    Thank you Dirook for timely advice.

    It is too late to implement most of your proposals which make sense. Politics have ruined cricket. Why did we took 33 years old Kulasekara to world cup ? On what basis ? All other teams have younger stronger faster bowlers. Only Mitchel Johnson is older, but impossible to compare the two.

    Bowling is a big concern. We have been hammered 1703 , third only to Zimbabwe 1840 , Ireland 1820 runs each. We have leaked 5.6 runs per over in average. NZ who topped our group have yielded 3.74 runs per over and Australia 4.3. In their group, SA has leaked at a rate of 4.6 runs per over.

    What is alarming is we are trailing behind most teams only managing 33 runs per wicket whereas South Africa needed 24 runs per wicket. Bangladesh, who could not take more than 1 SL wickets needed 37 runs per wicket and others scored at a rate of 5.4 runs per over against them.

    This means, mere “restricting tactics” between 1st to 30 overs will result in not more than 3-4 wickets taken around 35 over stage, leaving AB De Villiers , Rossouw or David Miller at crease with 20 overs to go and will be a disaster.

    It is a good idea to filed 3 spinners but 3 “fast” bowlers , who MUST have sufficient bowling speed to use the “bouncer” as a weapon ( not as a mistake to go for sixers) shall be used. Malinga trying to bowl only the yoker will make him ineffective, he must employ few well directed bouncers at fastest possible speed and varying speed.
    This is why picking Chameera is the most important tactic in this match. I think we should open with Kusal Perera.

    My team will be Dilshan , Kusal , Thirimanne, Sanga, Jayawardane, Mathews, Herath/Kaushal, Malinga, Chameera, Perera, (Lakmal/Kulasekara or Kaushal)

  2. Independent Says:

    Atapattu has said,
    “You may not see the same speed that he (Malinga) got two or three years back, but that’s something that everybody, including the greats, have had to face. Lasith is somebody who, come the big game, can rise up to that. He’s somebody that is looking forward to having a good performance. He’s a matchwinner, and I’m sure he’ll live up to that.”

    -This is a foolish statement. In that case Jack Kalis must be playing. Problem with our coach is this. They don’t know how to handle these players. There is no reason for him to loose pace, he is simply lazy , not keeping fit, have too much money , IPL crazy.
    They should have given chance to a younger bowler, trained well over past 1-2 years to counter this problem. But the problem is Kulasekara, like Jayasuriya, occasional good performance kept youngsters no chance to experience the big stage.
    I believe Atapattu is overruling the bowling coach Vass on this issue and Vass is fed up now and said he will be leaving after world cup, exposing some secrets.

  3. Dilrook Says:

    Further to this, analysing batting and bowling in the tournament gives good insights. We are Semi-Final material in batting. Our batting run rate is among the top four.

    AUS – 6.59
    SA – 6.32
    NZ – 6.31
    SL – 6.05
    INDIA – 5.94
    BAN – 5.61
    WI – 5.34
    PAK – 4.88

    But our bowling is the worst among all. Bowling run rate or opponents’ batting run rate against each.

    NZ – 3.74
    INDIA – 4.1
    AUS – 4.33
    SA – 4.62
    PAK – 4.96
    WI – 5.39
    BAN – 5.48
    SL – 5.68

    Our bowling is worse than Bangladesh and West Indies. We certainly need five dedicated bowlers (including Thisara) with two dedicated spinners. Otherwise there is no chance of beating South Africa. India and Pakistan beat them by bowling well.

    Our deficiency against South Africa is 66 runs on paper (13 from batting and 53 from bowling). Obviously bowling must improve up a notch with 5 full time bowlers (including Thisara).
    (6.32-6.05)*50 = 13

    There cannot be more convincing statistics than these to show we badly need a fifth bowler.

  4. mario_perera Says:

    Articles on cricket are a very welcome interlude from the general avalanche of articles proposed for our reading. Dilrook’s analyses on this subject are particularly insightful.

    Indeed our bowling is very dreadfully below par. It is here that I must respectfully take exception from Dilrook. The bowlers being a total let down, I fail to understand how the accumulation of bash-able bowlers can stem the expected batting onslaught?
    Dilrook specifically mentions Thissara. Yet the Pakistani commentator Rameez Raja added his voice to the chorus of those who are convinced that Thissara is a match losing bowler. This has furthermore been proved over and over again.

    Now yet again, we have, in the past witnessed batting debacles. Should the front line batsmen fail or not live up to expectations, then we are definitely a ‘goner’. If was stack up weak bowlers totally inept with the bat, then, if the top batsmen fail, we are beyond salvation.

    This is the reason I believe, that the team called up Nuwan Kulasekara. Though feeble and mediocre in bowling it can till be hoped that he strike some lusty blows ‘for the national cause”. This is what he did on the last occasion.

    Concluding, I fervently hope that our top batsmen Dilshan, Sanga and Mathews (Mahela?…well we can still hope that he comes good) pile up the runs and go past 320, which I consider the bottom line. I sincerely hope that Thiru, Thissara, and Kusal play their parts either as holding their end, or lifting the scoring rate with power hitting.

    But above all I hope that we will compensate for our bowling by a fantastic, out of this world, FIELDING performance, stopping, catching and scoring direct hits.

    Mario Perera

  5. mario_perera Says:

    I regret having failed to mention Mathews among our foremost front line batting hopes

    Mario Perera

  6. Independent Says:

    Kulasekara is the one ruined the whole thing. He deprived the chances of many other fast bowlers in past two years to play for the country. HE created the whole weakness in blowing department. HE MUST RETIRE.

    When he opens bowling, even Malinga’s bowling from other side becomes ineffective. His bowling can be effective if playing against Australia and NZ when there are explosive batsmen. He is a blower who can be easily defended by any batsman. So, he provides warming up for opposition batsmen.

    I agree he can be a useful batsman occasionally. I remember his great batting in Brisbane when all others failed. He took 6 wickets and destroyed Michael Clerk & CO in Brisbane couple of years ago, but all he definitely cannot do anything now. No point being able to bowl 3 overs and getting wicket or two. He is a bad example to the whole fast bowling unit. We loose future fast bowlers too.

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    We miss you Tony Greig.

    SL has a tough match tomorrow.

    DROP Perera and DROP Mahela. 2 useless players. They can’t ball or bat. HIT & MISS. They might PEAK at the 2019 tournament!!!

    Mahela is EATING balls without runs. He talks big praising Malinga, etc., etc. but NO ONE praises him!! Perera is balling to play sixes. His WILD SWINGS don’t produce runs in SERIOUS matches. South Africa is no Afghanistan. Get Lakmal and Tharanga instead.

    IF Mahela stays SA match will be his last and SL’s last. So why not retire NOW with the VICTORY of beating Scotland?

    Today is March 17. We won the 1996 WC on March 17. SLC management should force the cricketers to watch that match’s highlights. Get ARAVINDA to talk to the team instead of political losers.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    For god’s sake watch videos of WEAK SPOT of ALL SA batsmen. Remember these and ball to these spots.

    It is 90% accurate. We will be balling 300 balls. Make all of them INTELLIGENT not just ball like a herd.

  9. Independent Says:

    Bangladesh has two fast blowers who are able to remove tailenders fast. One can bowl swinging yokers at 146 kph. Malinga cannot. Malinga was not managed throughout his carrier. The young 19 year old Bangla boy Taskin bowls like a pro. He adjusts his fielders himself, even though he makes mistakes, he is a matured bowler. Our Chameera can bowl at 147 ks without noballing, with minimum wides , but he is treated like a kid. He is not encouraged to managed his bowling like Taskin. He does not stop, take a breadth standing for few seconds and start running. He turns back immediately and runs.
    There is no management in Sri Lanka. It is money , talk big, favouritism, worship of past glories etc etc.

    Today, a young under 19 Bangla team can beat our young easily. How will the future be ?

  10. Independent Says:

    Mathews is not a good captain. He proved this in Middle East against Pakistan.
    We could have drawn that match very easily if not win. But his tactics to keep on batting with zero runs to waste time was outright wrong. May be he is influenced by the stupid seniors. He did not take a run to keep his strike and wasted at least 50 runs in that match and finally got out in the same way he got out against Australia recently. After that, luckily for Sir Lanka Prasanna Jaya hit some lusty blows to to jack up our score. But when Pakistan batted, Mathews set the filed negatively and asked the bowlers to avoid batsmen than trying to take wickets. Pakistanis took the challenge and hit 300+ runs in 50-60 overs and won. It was shameful.

  11. mario_perera Says:

    As Lorenzo and Independent clearly point out, our team is faced with decisions it is fearful of taking. The names of Mahela and Thissara crop up constantly in this regard. Should they be dropped or should they not be dropped? Their place in the team is due to hopes that they ‘might’ perform at an unexpected moment. Mahela did so against Afghanistan. Perera frankly has done nothing except serving as a punching bag for opposition batsmen. Yet as Lorenzo says: Perera must play because he kindles hopes of a late flourish.

    the point about replacements is that they too are ‘unsure performers’. They have been tried on ‘umpteen’ occasions but have never been consistent.

    I agree with Independent regarding Kulasekara. He is not an asset anymore. My only fear is about the batting incapability of the lower order. Numbers 8.9.10 and 11 just simply cannot bat.

    Quite sincerely when watching out team bat, I am continuously ‘On PINS’ hoping against hope that they will survive the net ball. The only one we can reasonably rely on is Sanga…no one else.

    Mario Perera

  12. Dilrook Says:

    Mario is right in saying there is no available replacement for Mahela and Perera. For that reason they will have to play. If Mahela is serious about retiring on a high, he must earn it. Using a team slot to gain entry to BBL is selfish. Perera had to be given the ball in later overs because we lacked a bowler to get through those overs. Its best to discontinue him when he starts giving away too many runs.

    I too find it very uncomfortable when our batsmen face a tough team. Batsmen of the caliber Aravinda, Arjuna, Sanath and even Gurusinghe and Romesh are hard to come by. They had an air of confidence about them; the ability to plant themselves. We don’t see that anymore. Sanga is a better bat than all of them but he too has a fragile start.

    Some argue that according to the law of averages, Sanga is due for a low score soon. By the same token, the law of averages say Mahela, Lahiru, Thisara and Mattews are due for big ones. And Malinga, Rangana, etc. with the ball. The law of probability is often misunderstood. A coin has a 50% chance for head or tail. If 5 repeats produced heads only, does that increase the chance of getting a tail in the 6th toss? No. It still is 50%. There is no mathematical truth in the law of averages. Batting averages change. A good example is Afridi or Sanath whose ODI average changed up and down over their career. Sanga has steadily increased his test batting average over time. No reason why his ODI average will not follow.

    The captain should be wise in bowling changes. Its best to be prepared for a shorter game which drives the run rate up. Containment bowling is key in such an event.

  13. Independent Says:

    Atapattu’s statement I have given above is simply wishful thinking. How can a coach of a major team say such things. We simply should not have depended on ONE or TWO bowler. That is simply WRONG and this types of coaches and selectors do not deserve the money they are getting.

    Ask the questions ! We have 20 million people, 100,000 kids playing cricket. Where are the fast bowlers ? What did you do for past 4 years ? Sleep ?
    Then sack the idiots !

  14. Independent Says:

    Angelo Mathews cannot remember of Malinga bowling at 147 kPh and Dilhara Fernando at 149 kPh.

    Dale Steyn v Dushmantha Chameera

    “We just want him to go there and bowl fast.”
    Angelo Mathews said that about Sri Lanka’s speedy sensation Dushmantha Chameera. The same has been said of Dale Steyn for almost a decade. Although South Africa’s spearhead has not sliced through any line-up with his usual sharpness yet, his coach Russell Domingo has been impressed with how he has progressively upped his pace and intensity and expects him to be at his best when it matters most. Chameera will have none of the same pressures. He is only two internationals into his career, but has pushed the speedgun to 147kph, which Mathews called “extraordinary for a Sri Lankan”. Although at almost opposite ends of expectation, the two quicks should provide some excitement, especially for the batsmen.

  15. Independent Says:

    Those who can bowl fast are good assets and shall be coached and managed. What did our coaches, media and selectors did to Dilhara Fernando ? Completely discouraged and destroyed his life. No matter what (about no-balls) he had the best bouncer in the world and the best slow bowl in the world but the coaches did not encourage him. I still remember him getting a top order Australian wicket bowling at 149.9 kPh short bowl. Nowadays our short bowls are dispatched to the boundary over the rope. They have no venom. We did well in Tests in England and turned the tables against English in England using short bowls and basically Nuwan Pradeep, Dhammika Prassad, Suranga Lakmal and Shaminda Eranga. Where are they ? Dhammika injured. Eranga lost pace. Nuwan ignored. Suranga gained pace but sitting on the bench giving way to Kulasekara who got in using politics.

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