South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Centurion, 3rd day December 17, 2011

Manner of defeat more concerning for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's struggles on the field are compounded by their issues behind the scenes
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Would you have any motivation if the company you worked for was in a corporate governance tangle messier than Lasith Malinga's hair? If that company had not had elections in the last seven years and had run by a series of committees who changed more frequently than the number of teams in the IPL and with far greater impact? And most importantly, if you had not been paid in nine months?

Sri Lanka's cricketers have managed to keep going, albeit it without much success, in spite of all of the above. Allegedly, they have come to South Africa more interested and with greater focus than they have had in any other series this year.

That has included a tour of England, in which a nightmare session in Cardiff saw Sri Lanka skittled for 82, a home series against Australia where the dustbowl at Galle gave Australia victory and a trip to the UAE where rain in Sharjah denied Sri Lanka a Test win. Now, in the country where flat-track bullies come to die and with injuries to five fast-bowlers, Sri Lanka arrived with a smidgen of self-belief and heaps of hope.

So far, it has all came to nought. They were written off every time they were written about and in the end they lived up, or rather down, to their reputation and were solidly and comprehensively beaten.

More concerning than the loss itself was the manner in which it came. The lack of application and commitment from Sri Lanka's batsmen, albeit against a quality attack who exploited their home conditions well, was astounding and the ease with which they gave up was alarming. Everyone from Tillakaratne Dilshan to Rangana Herath succumbed to an inability to read the lengths the South African bowlers presented them with. Eight batsmen were caught by the wicket-keeper or in the slips in a second innings showing that was more dismal than the first.

Between being told to be positive, without being rash, and cautious without being tentative, it's little wonder that Sri Lanka's batsmen are somewhat confused.

It's unlikely they were thinking of their pay cheques or their board when they edged behind and even unlikelier that their bank accounts were full, the edges would have become solid drives, but it's clear that something is plaguing Sri Lankan cricket. In an excuse that sounded almost Mahmudullah-eqsue in nature, Dilshan revealed that he does not know exactly what it is that stops Sri Lanka from translating their net practices into on-field performances.

"We are working hard in the nets, but we are not able to carry it into the middle," he said. "We have two batsmen close to 10,000 runs [Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara] but as a batting group, we have not been clicking well over the last few months."

Over-reliance on the two big names could be part of the problem. Even when Dilshan and Tharanaga Paranavitana had been dismissed, it was when Vernon Philander worked over Kumar Sangakkara that the sense that real trouble had hit Sri Lanka's ranks emerged.

When Mahela Jayawardene was run-out attempting to make his 10,000th Test run, an innings defeat seemed inevitable. Even Dilshan admitted that the once the milestone is out of the way, a burden will be lifted. "I think if he got 10,000 runs, after that he might have had a free mind," Dilshan said.

As a unit, Dilshan said that responsibility has to be taken by all but he did not signal out anyone else in the line-up. The middle-order appears brittle, Prasanna Jayawardene is being missed and the game-plans are not being thought out with the required depth to play in foreign conditions.

Marvan Atapattu said Sri Lanka had to be "positive" when they approached their second innings. It appears that that instruction is being misunderstood by some players, adding another dimension to their issues. Dilshan's first innings shot was an example of it. Atapattu wants his batsmen to look to AB de Villiers' innings as an example of how to play on South African surfaces. "Anything outside the off stump, look to score off and anything pitched up," he said.

Instead, Sri Lanka were strangled by fuller deliveries, particularly by Vernon Philander's show of bowling just outside off and getting the ball to nip around. They showed unnatural restraint and fell apart as a result. "If you are tentative on a wicket like that, you won't get many places," Graeme Smith, South Africa captain, said.

Between being told to be positive, without being rash, and cautious without being tentative, it's little wonder that Sri Lanka's batsmen are somewhat confused. Dilshan said he only needs the batting problems to be fixed in order for his side to be competitive because the bowlers will be able to produce in seamer-friendly conditions. "If the batting unit can put runs on the board, I feel we can bowl them [South Africa] out if we are given this kind of wicket, with help for the fast bowlers," he said. "If we can put some runs on the board, we know we can put pressure on the South African team."

But finding those runs seems to be a beyond the Sri Lankan batsmen. Dilshan has repeatedly insisted that the board issues are not troubling the team, that they can't control what is happening at management level, and in a tone that sounds almost like a plea for help that Sri Lanka are just "trying to play our best cricket".

That may be the case, but the environment in which Sri Lanka have to play their cricket is not one that facilitates a culture of success or development. The shop's backroom is a shambles so their outside display can hardly be perfect. Although Sri Lanka's cricketers have been trying to do a window-dressing act for months, their abysmal form see some questions being asked about what is really the source of their current problems.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on December 20, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully. Not only IND PAK also win matches in SA,AUS,ENG etc. SL also win some matches in WIN,NZ,ENG,PAK etc (except IND,SA and AUS).So you can not say SL never won matches in ENG or NZ like that.But SL never lost to series or match to ZIM. You said IND is far better than SL, true it should be because IND is playing since 1932 and SL start to play exactly after 50 years that is in 1982. And also with that 29years of play SL achieve lot of thing.But if IND is so great tell me when they win series in AUS or SA (Never). When time to come SL will win all the places.

  • Amol_Gh on December 20, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Mrgupta: ("I agree it isn't India, but i disagree that its either of Eng, SA or Aus.") Spot on, bang on target !!!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 20, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    So as per SL fans, winning one or 2 matches (like India did) in SA,WI, Aus or Eng is very BAD than winning nothing (SL)...and winning a series in India where conditions are same to their home conditions is is NOT IMPORTANT to them! LOL what a logic by Lankan fans! BTW, nobody called India as dominant as SA or Aus... but India is FAR BETTER THAN SL in foreign pitches. Just ask SA about it!

  • Sachwid on December 20, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    @Xolile, well said mate !

  • mrgupta on December 20, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    @Ahamed Afker: Ok we can accept your comment that wining a match here and there does not make a team great so if you think Eng is a great team then please check and answer this question, India last Won a test series in Eng in 2007, when was the last time England Won a series in India and when was the last time SA won a home series against Aus? For your information Aussies have lost to England in 3 out of last 4 series, Aussies have lost to India in 2 of last 3 series and havn't Won a test against India in last 8 attempts. India on their last two trips to SA and Aus has consistently Won Test matches and England's recent Test series victory over India was their first in last 15 years. So again, who is the Great team here? I agree it isn't India, but i disagree that its either of Eng, SA or Aus.

  • Amol_Gh on December 19, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    I'm **NO** SRL basher. I just talk in the language called 'Statistics'. And according to that SRL are yet to win a Test in IND, AUS and SA. That's a fact.

  • on December 19, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Contd....You mention Pakistan won in every corner its a big big joke Kindly check the stats ,Pakistan have taken 15 years to register a single Test match victory over Australia,Since 1993-2000 SA murder pak in ODI CLINICALLY Their home recored has been too miserable since 1990-2006 where they lost every team at home.India on the other hand conceded only Two series technically against that was agst SA IN 2000 and AUS in 2004,Their record since 15 years agst all conquering Aus stand 12-10 in Ind favour Yes India lost and drew series against Zimbabwe in Zim at 1998(0-1) and 2001(1-1) respectively but Pakistan also lost their home series against Zim (ur truly minnows) in 1998 1-0 inspite of being avery strong all round sides in that sense u decide which side is dull???I m too a cricket fan I have high regard over Aus and SA in consistency ,I put India and england below them but Pakistan no way they are still long way to impress and their recent truimp over BD ,ZIM,SlL are least expected

  • on December 19, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    @ Ahamed Afker with due regard ur comments @josh2david. Not only Sehwag ........But in times come they will do that for sure...I want to stand my comments too.See Sehwag 1st Test Century on his debut that was against World class South african attack comprises Pollock,Ntini,kallis tcc which can be rated same league or even above Vernom Philander.If India have tamed Any one in the world at their prime Philander is too not abig deal.Yes winning here and there is not be called as superior team but ur mentioned England side to had its number they were all hidding for 16 years in Ashes against Aussies.even though they currently ranked No 1 they still not best bet in subcontinent wicket,yes till last three years before Aussies are onsistent side and they are deserved to be what they were,but now table are turned and they too are Average side ,As per South Africa are concern they are the team that won all over the world but yet to have register home series victory over Aussies To be Contd.

  • Habi on December 19, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    @Yashiharan, Though it's not SL's fault that they played more in home yet the away test results are very poor for SL. Ind on their part have won in Aus, Eng, SL, WI, SL, NZ and even in Pak. Its coz of financial clout of Asia that Murali was allowed to bowl by altering the ICC rules. After this only SL won regularly at home else nobody would have termed SL as home lions. Its true that in Sanga and Mahela they have world class batsmen, but they have to prove themselves in available away games which they have very rarely performed. Its Ind who halted the AUS juggernaut twice. SL are yet to win a single test in SA, Aus ok there are less tours there then what about in Ind SL have not won a test in Ind even with Murali, Vaas, J'suriya, Arvinda, Ranatunga, Mahanama. Anyway hope SL will bounce back in 2nd Test as the Ind did last time coz SA batting is prone to collapse under pressure.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 19, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    @ahmed afker . yeah consistently winning like sa , and consistent choking like sa too lol .

  • on December 20, 2011, 8:34 GMT

    @Fast_Track_Bully. Not only IND PAK also win matches in SA,AUS,ENG etc. SL also win some matches in WIN,NZ,ENG,PAK etc (except IND,SA and AUS).So you can not say SL never won matches in ENG or NZ like that.But SL never lost to series or match to ZIM. You said IND is far better than SL, true it should be because IND is playing since 1932 and SL start to play exactly after 50 years that is in 1982. And also with that 29years of play SL achieve lot of thing.But if IND is so great tell me when they win series in AUS or SA (Never). When time to come SL will win all the places.

  • Amol_Gh on December 20, 2011, 6:34 GMT

    Mrgupta: ("I agree it isn't India, but i disagree that its either of Eng, SA or Aus.") Spot on, bang on target !!!

  • Fast_Track_Bully on December 20, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    So as per SL fans, winning one or 2 matches (like India did) in SA,WI, Aus or Eng is very BAD than winning nothing (SL)...and winning a series in India where conditions are same to their home conditions is is NOT IMPORTANT to them! LOL what a logic by Lankan fans! BTW, nobody called India as dominant as SA or Aus... but India is FAR BETTER THAN SL in foreign pitches. Just ask SA about it!

  • Sachwid on December 20, 2011, 6:20 GMT

    @Xolile, well said mate !

  • mrgupta on December 20, 2011, 4:49 GMT

    @Ahamed Afker: Ok we can accept your comment that wining a match here and there does not make a team great so if you think Eng is a great team then please check and answer this question, India last Won a test series in Eng in 2007, when was the last time England Won a series in India and when was the last time SA won a home series against Aus? For your information Aussies have lost to England in 3 out of last 4 series, Aussies have lost to India in 2 of last 3 series and havn't Won a test against India in last 8 attempts. India on their last two trips to SA and Aus has consistently Won Test matches and England's recent Test series victory over India was their first in last 15 years. So again, who is the Great team here? I agree it isn't India, but i disagree that its either of Eng, SA or Aus.

  • Amol_Gh on December 19, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    I'm **NO** SRL basher. I just talk in the language called 'Statistics'. And according to that SRL are yet to win a Test in IND, AUS and SA. That's a fact.

  • on December 19, 2011, 16:10 GMT

    Contd....You mention Pakistan won in every corner its a big big joke Kindly check the stats ,Pakistan have taken 15 years to register a single Test match victory over Australia,Since 1993-2000 SA murder pak in ODI CLINICALLY Their home recored has been too miserable since 1990-2006 where they lost every team at home.India on the other hand conceded only Two series technically against that was agst SA IN 2000 and AUS in 2004,Their record since 15 years agst all conquering Aus stand 12-10 in Ind favour Yes India lost and drew series against Zimbabwe in Zim at 1998(0-1) and 2001(1-1) respectively but Pakistan also lost their home series against Zim (ur truly minnows) in 1998 1-0 inspite of being avery strong all round sides in that sense u decide which side is dull???I m too a cricket fan I have high regard over Aus and SA in consistency ,I put India and england below them but Pakistan no way they are still long way to impress and their recent truimp over BD ,ZIM,SlL are least expected

  • on December 19, 2011, 15:55 GMT

    @ Ahamed Afker with due regard ur comments @josh2david. Not only Sehwag ........But in times come they will do that for sure...I want to stand my comments too.See Sehwag 1st Test Century on his debut that was against World class South african attack comprises Pollock,Ntini,kallis tcc which can be rated same league or even above Vernom Philander.If India have tamed Any one in the world at their prime Philander is too not abig deal.Yes winning here and there is not be called as superior team but ur mentioned England side to had its number they were all hidding for 16 years in Ashes against Aussies.even though they currently ranked No 1 they still not best bet in subcontinent wicket,yes till last three years before Aussies are onsistent side and they are deserved to be what they were,but now table are turned and they too are Average side ,As per South Africa are concern they are the team that won all over the world but yet to have register home series victory over Aussies To be Contd.

  • Habi on December 19, 2011, 10:42 GMT

    @Yashiharan, Though it's not SL's fault that they played more in home yet the away test results are very poor for SL. Ind on their part have won in Aus, Eng, SL, WI, SL, NZ and even in Pak. Its coz of financial clout of Asia that Murali was allowed to bowl by altering the ICC rules. After this only SL won regularly at home else nobody would have termed SL as home lions. Its true that in Sanga and Mahela they have world class batsmen, but they have to prove themselves in available away games which they have very rarely performed. Its Ind who halted the AUS juggernaut twice. SL are yet to win a single test in SA, Aus ok there are less tours there then what about in Ind SL have not won a test in Ind even with Murali, Vaas, J'suriya, Arvinda, Ranatunga, Mahanama. Anyway hope SL will bounce back in 2nd Test as the Ind did last time coz SA batting is prone to collapse under pressure.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 19, 2011, 10:33 GMT

    @ahmed afker . yeah consistently winning like sa , and consistent choking like sa too lol .

  • on December 19, 2011, 10:20 GMT

    @josh2david. Not only Sehwag any batsman will hit Phillender all over the park in subcontinent but my point is in SA he is superb.IND is lucky not to face him.That is what I said. @Shakthivel & Amol_Ind_SA and other SL bashers. Just winnig one one match here and there (Eg.Perth,Durban,Jamaice etc) not making IND is a superior team like (ENG,SA and AUS). You have prove that you winning consistently like how ENG,AUS and SA are doing. PAK also won so many matches like that that too against teams like AUS,SA,ENG,WIN,NZ in their back yard. And also why you are not talking about IND's tour of ZIM (1998 & 2001). IND is the only subcontinent team (except BANG) who lost to ZIM a series (where ZIM is minnows). Even your SRT,RD,SG can not chase 234 runs. True SL still not win a match in SA,AUS and IND. But in times come they will do that for sure.

  • Vilander on December 19, 2011, 9:28 GMT

    Subcontinent teams can not combat good swing bowling in seaming conditions the lateral movement is just too much for them. India who had combated England well throughout and won series in ENG lost it badly last time around. SL who did well in Aus last year are going through these difficulties in SA. India alos only managed to draw in SA, its symptomatic, both Ind and SL are very good teams in subcontinent but outside they become weaker, this can be combated by preparing good sporting ( seaming not spinning) surfaces in places like Dharmashala,mohali,Srinagar in Ind ,Kandy in SL open at least domestic level grounds in places like Chail Himachal pradesh, Dargeeling, etc.In these places the weather will permit seaming surfaces that mimic SA/England.

  • VinodGupte on December 19, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    @ yashiharan - indian team defeated ENG last time they were there. indian team has won test matches in the caribbean, Aus, SA and NZ. sri lankan side, on the other hand, has not done so well away from SSC, Colombo. give them that 22 X 5 yards of soil and they will score triple and double hundreds, and once they are away from their beloved pitch, they meekly surrender. case in point - mahela jayawardene. he averages 17 in his last three away tours. i don't see that number changing in this tour either, because centurion, j'berg, wanderers are no SSC, colombo where he can make double hundreds and partner with others for a stand worth 600.

  • on December 19, 2011, 7:58 GMT

    Dilshan does not seem like a good motivator and one to lead from front.

  • on December 19, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    @yashiharan Wake up mate and felt sorry for ur terrible comments on Indians.As per Sri lanka perofrmance you better know theirs than we .One thing is sure they are still not that much force out side SRILANKA and yet to prove their Creditenial outside Srilanka,Strats also reveals that they are yet register single Test victory over INDIA,AUSTRALIA SOUTH AFRICA AT THEIR OWN BACK YARD.as per Indians Pathethic performance in England this is one of their major debacle in last 10 years other wise they had been decent out side Subcontnenet were as Sri lanka has been conssistent in their disastourous performance out side Colombo.

  • IndiaNeedsBowlers on December 19, 2011, 7:19 GMT

    Well my take: 1. SL does have a young less experienced bowling attack. So difficult to expect too much from them. 2. However they do have world class batsmen like Sangakarra and Jaywardena. If they can't bat 90 overs in 2 innnings, why blame bowlers. 3. I remember Sanga (and I respect his views a lot) making a statement that SL don't get chances to play outside sub continent a lot. Now here's a great chance. Two tours outside subcontinent in the same year. 4. I must also add that the SL team did show a lot of fight in the England tour. Hopefully they'll learn quickly and show some fight in SA as well. They are not expected to win, but at least they can show a strong fight.

  • LazloWoodbine on December 19, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    @Xolile - well said, that man! No-one here actually cares about what the Indian team is/isn't doing, we're here to discuss SA v SL. @Telford - Like the comment, sir! And this from the one professional cricket writer on this forum. @johnathonjosephs - you win the prize for being the first fanboy to bring up SRT! I'm amazed it took an Indian fan that long to bring up the old codger!

  • DAY.BEFORE.TOMORROW on December 19, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    XOLILE: Rahul never dragged India into picture. Actually he commented about DURBAN pitch where your favourite team suffered hat-trick of defeats - two against the lower ranked teams of SA at that time. Best of luck for the 4th consecutive .......

  • Amol_Gh on December 19, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    josh2david: I agree. Ponting should have retired 2 years ago. But that doesn't mean he not a great. May be he may catch a second wind like Dravid did. Greats can achieve anything. By the way, Ponting has 8 centuries against SA, arguably the best attack after what AUS's was (Mcgrath, Warne, Gillispie, etc) then. And all those 100s are on bowler-friendly pitches. How many does Mahela have (against SA) on bowler-friendly pitches ? NIL. The difference between Ponting and Mahela is : The ONLY places outside Aus. where Ponting DID NOT score are : in IND, in ZIM (where he played only one match). The ONLY places outside Srl. where Mahela DID score are: in IND, in ZIM (where he played 5 matches). So who's the Great One ? And if u still say Mahela, then it would be a big, big joke.

  • Roshini on December 19, 2011, 4:33 GMT

    Hugely disappointed Sri Lanka. You just could not hang on till lunch on forth day. Coming up against the current SA attack we knew what was on store n least was expected. But not a meek surrender of this nature. Would have been happier to see a fight n ending the match on day four. Also we quite understand our cricketing history n what it takes to get a test victory against such ominous sides like SA, Australia and India in their own backyard. As we moan day in day out looking at the results, it doesn't get any clearer that our past majority of test victories have mainly come on the shoulders of the retired two legends Murali and Sanath. We can get the commando's to protect us, we can get the spiritual leaders to shower blessings upon us, we can ask Sir Gary Sobers to bat for us..so on n so forth..but the eroding nature of our overall game is such its hard even to imagine a day of reckoning will come playing SA, Aussies and India in their own den. Roshini Vass - Homagama Sri Lanka

  • Rooboy on December 19, 2011, 0:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka need to find another up and coming baseball pitcher for their team ...

  • Sakthiivel on December 18, 2011, 19:18 GMT

    @josh2david: Getting 300+ score with good quality pakistan blowing side by Bangladesh is good. Even SL played Pakistan this year where in 6 innings SL passed 300 + score only twice. NZ have good blowing attack to defend 200 where SL gave Pakistan score 300+ in 3 inning and other 3 Pakistan just batted through ..

  • on December 18, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    Playing against a moving bowl is a big problem for all batsman's but Srilanka is too much weak here. You can just sense what is going to happen. If they keep playing on the pitches like premdasa then it is not going to help the matter.

  • zerotollerance on December 18, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    It's time for sanga and mahela to resign. I don't know why thy resign an give chanc to chandimal an other young players. Mahela will fail this entire series. Guys retire now an concentrate on your restaurant. Let t youn kids pay now. Your tie is over.

  • S.Jagernath on December 18, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    Cricinfo provides a service called Statsguru,use it Sri Lankans!

  • josh2david on December 18, 2011, 15:45 GMT

    Amol_Ind_SA probably you stoped updating results for 18 months, Ponting yet to score a centuary for 18 months and his average is just 27 and highest scored 78. I think Mahela is in better form than him, when you comment please tell the fact and be genuine.

  • josh2david on December 18, 2011, 15:32 GMT

    @sakthivel I don't undersatand where this 300+ score test score come from, will you say NZ below par then, they defended 200+ score in Tasmania and won the match, innings score is irrelevant, also Pakistan yet to bat mate, who knows they score 700+ in that surface, have you read Cricinfo commented " A rare centuary stand between Shakib and Noseir' you reaction is just like knee jerk.

  • on December 18, 2011, 15:13 GMT

    Congrats to SA & I can only say ALL THE BEST to SL (as a sri lankan supporter) :))

  • PDilE on December 18, 2011, 14:16 GMT

    If you take the 2006 famous SL tour to England, which SL drew Tests 1-1, won T20 1-0 & Won ODIs 5-0,the Lankans were given virtually no chance prior to the tour. Before that tour SL lost both tests & ODis to India/New Zealand & Pakistan & also a ODI against Bangladesh.They had lost something like 20 out of 28 ODIs & 4 out of & tests with 3 draws prior to the England tour. What happened in England after the Lords Test saving is history which takes SL to the WC Final in 2007 just after 12 months. Don't be too harsh on SL cricketers guys. These ups & downs do come in life. The huge turnaround is not far away. SL cricket will be back to its full flow shortly.Good Luck SL.....

  • daager on December 18, 2011, 13:55 GMT

    I feel for the Sri Lankans - backroom problems, while facing what is arguably the finst test attack in the world at the moment on seaming pitches. I think being overly critical of their batsmen would be unfair - if we had faced that opening spell of Philander and Steyn in the second innings I wonder how many we would have got. Sometimes there is a tendency to criticise batsmen instead of giving bowlers credit. Sangakkara got a peach, although in the first innings he should have left it. I see more issues with their bowling - they just dont have our qulaity and pace. I hope SL give us more of a scrap in the durban test - when on song their batsmen are superb to watch.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 18, 2011, 13:24 GMT

    @ AHMED AFKAR @ XOLILE @SUN & SEA . IT IS TRUE THAT INDIA HAS THE WORST BOWLING ATTACK IN WORLD , BUT DEPSITE THEIR CLUB LEVEL BOWLING ATTACK INDIA HAVE WON TESTS OUTSIDE INDIA IN PAST 4 YEARS . NOTTINGHAM 2007, PERTH , 2008 , GALLE 2008 , AUCKALAND 2009 , COLOMBO 2010 , DURBAN 2011 , JAMIACA 2011.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 18, 2011, 13:16 GMT

    @AHAMED AFKAR . I WAS ALWAYS THERE EVEN DURING THE WHITEWASH TOUR OF ENGLAND. YEAH SA PUT 620 ON THE BOARD BUT THEY ALSO GET BOWLED OUT FOR 131 IN DURBAN WHICH WAS THE LOWEST TOTAL IN THAT SERIES .OH AND REEGARDING THE ENG TOUR , DIDN'T INDIAN TEAM WON SERIES IN ENGLAND IN 2007 , 1986, 1971 . ON THIS TOUR WE LOST BECAUSE ENG WERE JUST SUPERB IN ALL DEPARTMENTS . THEY PLAYED VERY GOOD CRICKET . INDIA PLAYED POORLY ESPECIALLY IN LAST 2 TESTS INDIAN TEAM SHOW NO INTEREST IN SERIES .AND ALSO THEIR WERE SOME INJURIES . I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HOW SA PERFORM IN ENGLAND NEXT YEAR IF THEY LOSE STEYN ON FIRST DAY OF SERIES , AB DEVILLIERS UNAVAIALBLE FOR HALF OF THE SERIES , AMLA UNAVILABLE FOR 2 TESTS .

  • Sakthiivel on December 18, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    @ josh2david : Dont ever compare Bangladesh With srilanka, They post 338 against Pakistan today. Bangaldesh is far better side as of now Than Srilanka...

  • rahulcricket007 on December 18, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    @XOLLIE . FIRST OF ALL MY LAPPY HAS SPECIAL CAPS LOCK KEY WHICH ALWAYS REMAINS ON . AND THE REASON FOR DRAGGING INDIA INTO THIS SERIES IS BECAUSE ALL THE PEOPLE INCLUDING SA , SL AUS , PAK , BAN , WI WERE COMMENTING ON INDIAN TEAM DURING ENG TOUR . SO DON'T BE THAT RUDE . OK

  • Amol_Gh on December 18, 2011, 12:55 GMT

    As an Indian, I believe, it's not worth supporting SRL against any team. The SRL-fans always backfire on us for all the support we give them. I hope SA thrash SRL 3-0 and win all the One Dayers against SRL. That would be a good revenge for what happened more than half-a-decade ago (in 2006) on those flat-roads of SSC, Colombo.

  • Sakthiivel on December 18, 2011, 12:51 GMT

    @ josh2david : Dont ever compare Bangladesh With srilanka, They post 338 against Pakistan today. Bangaldesh is far better side as of now Than Srilanka...

  • josh2david on December 18, 2011, 12:49 GMT

    Ahamed Afker,I am not very impressed about your comment, Philender bowled only 523 bowls (6 tests)matches and you assume that he can destroy any team in the world, he never been in subcontinent yet, he need some one like Swag to blast all over the park, that will happen in subcontinent, too early to predict about his cricket life.understandably any team in the world , they are strog in their own backyard, I am very keen to watch philender bowl in subcontinent. You must be kidding about india SA results with Philender performance.

  • Amol_Gh on December 18, 2011, 12:48 GMT

    I think these SRL supporters won't stop boasting till SA wins the whole series 3-0. Mahela is not in the same league as Sachin, Dravid, Kallis, Gavaskar and Ponting. One series loss IN ENG doe NOT make IND a poor team. (The series one before that, IND had won it IN ENG.) One has to look at the overall performance over the last three years that counts. And India is performing long before that since Ganguly's leadership. Remember AUS 2003 ? In the same way, One match win in Eng does not suddenly make SRL a superior team. Where are they standing NOW in the Rankings ? Where were they standing THEN before the period considered for Rankings ? NOWHERE. When was the last time, even SRL won a test match OUT OF SRL against better opposition: (IND, SA, AUS) NEVER. I have no idea what SRL-fans are bragging about. They shouldn't even compare IND to SRL.

  • khiladisher on December 18, 2011, 12:43 GMT

    SRI LANKA HAS BEEN PATHETIC SINCE THE GREAT MURALI LEFT- THEIR BATTING HAS BEEN RANK INEPT AND POOR-NOT ABLE TO WIN ANY TEST MATCH FOR LAST 2 YEARS AND FACING THE 4TH SERIES DEFEAT IN A ROW- THE RANKINGS AT THE END OF THE SERIES WILL DENOTE THE TRUE RANKING OF LANKAN CRICKET- MAHELA JAYAWARDENE -SANGAKARA AND DILSHAN WOULD HAVE TO TAKE A RE-LOOK AT THEIR CAREERS -WHERE THEIR AWAY RECORDS IN INDIA-AUSTRALIA-SOUTH AFRICA -ENGLAND-AND NEW ZEALAND HAVE BEEN VERY POOR-THAT'S THE REASON WHY LANKA HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO WIN A SINGLE MATCH IN INDIA-AUSTRALIA AND SOUTH AFRICA. IT HAS BEEN A PAIN WATCHING THE SRI LANKAN BATTERS STRUGGLE TO EVEN PUT BALL TO BAT-

  • on December 18, 2011, 12:26 GMT

    @JonathonJosephs Sachin who?

  • siriherath on December 18, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    Don't mean to rub salt, in addition to some Indian fans getting hysterical and slamming SL cricket and country.(Wonder why Indian fans realise that India aren't involved in this series?) That said; the plain reality is Sri Lankan cricket is heading to an abyss, and you needn't be a genius to figure that out. Knee-jerking will not count for anything now- you need a complete overhaul of the method, approach, attitude and dare I say players. Many observed that there was something very strange going on since the English tour. Except for Dilshan at Lords and Prasanna at Cardiff almost all batsmen just gave away their wickets and it continued to this day. Rift within the camp, conflict with team management, politicians' intimidation, rival groups within the team??? Something's got to give and happen fast. Mere prayers for a miracle could only bring forth the inevitable - (1) wiped out from rankings, team and players (2) Matches confined to vs. WI, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh

  • on December 18, 2011, 12:16 GMT

    its pleasing to see people concern over india even if their own team is in shatters ,long live you people!

  • stormy16 on December 18, 2011, 11:56 GMT

    The last para of this article hits the nail on the head - if the back room is a mess everything else can only go downhill. The SL cricket administrators have ruied SL cricket for many years and its finally showing up on the field. Yes SA would beat SL easily anyday in these conditions but the fact remains something is horribly wrong with SL. The reality is years of mis-managment has finally taken its toll. There is a lot of critisism of Dilshan but this guy was never meant to lead or wanted to lead. The administrators frustrated the obvious leaders so they resigned leaving no choice. The same administrators failed to appoint a national coach for a team that was a world cup finalist, made shocking selections like recalling a 42 member of parliment to play 2 games, appoint a VC who was not in the team before or since, gobbled all the money the players made for the board, failed to give cnetral contracts on expiry ETC. You cannot have such a circus in the back office and expect miracles.

  • on December 18, 2011, 11:47 GMT

    @ All SL bashers. Where were you when IND played in ENG? What would be the results then? Where is these so called Best Batsmens then?.. How many times you fast the 350 runs in all complete 8 inngs (even once)?.. Never. BANG is better team because they made at least once that 350 marks in Eng in 2010. Also Why IND draw the series with SA because No Pilender that time.In case if he played that time results will 3-0 in SA favour.Is not it?...And also when you played last time in SA that is not green top. That why SA file up 620 runs just losing 4 wkts. And also all the batsman making their best inning against IND only.Eg.Cook,Bell,Morgan,Kallis etc. Because IND bowling so strong LOL. True there is a problem with SL team, if not they will put up better fight thab this.

  • nimal183 on December 18, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Big problem for srilanka now is batting!!! I just cant understand why are they batting like this!! There is definitely some politics involved.. I am sure they are mush better side than what they doing now.. To make things worse they are playing a strong SA side at home is always going to be tough!!

  • SunAndSea on December 18, 2011, 11:26 GMT

    @Xolile: Superb response!

  • on December 18, 2011, 10:12 GMT

    Make Sangakara captian again. Bring back Malinga from retirement.Make Aravinda the selector again. SL will start winning again.

  • josh2david on December 18, 2011, 10:00 GMT

    @cheeseburgers I think your comment about SL is very premature, you could ask this question to ICC, why SL is test rank 5 and BAN is in the bottom of the table ( rank 9) and why Sanga is rank 1 test batsman. Since 2005 SL won 10 test series, lost 6 and drawn 7. SA was whitewashed by SL in 2006. India was whitewashed by ENG last summer, would you then compare India and BAN. Last few test matches SL fought hard to defend and earn a Draw. There are few things going in the SL team right now, transition period, Players weren't paid etc... In my view comparing BAN is too childish ...

  • Roar911 on December 18, 2011, 9:54 GMT

    i got *this* much of faith left in dilshan.... not his batting, it's his captaincy that ruins him... how often does sl gets eng, aus, sa series in one year? we blew it big time.... if im to blame it on someone, i'd blame whole administration and sanga..... if he really loved sl, he shouldnt have given up captaincy (even though internal politics are too much to bear) ....alas, this is cricket.... it happens!

  • on December 18, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    @rahulcricket007: Bowl them out for less than 150! LOL! This is SA, not Bangladesh!

  • BellCurve on December 18, 2011, 9:37 GMT

    @rahulcricket007 - First of all, why do you write in capitals? Is your CAPS LOCK key perhaps stuck? Secondly, SA is currently hosting SL. This has nothing to do with India. Please stop dragging India into everything. Thirdly, since you brought it up, India has played 15 matches in SA, won 2 and lost 7. SA on the other hand has played 12 matches in India, and won 5 and lost 5. All of these matches were played during the era of SRT and Dravid. Despite this SA has been the dominant team. Fourthly, India lost 4-0 against England earlier this year. Clearly they are clueless on seaming pitches. Finally, the conclusion: I suggest you focus on the cricket, not the teams, and learn to be more generous. The universe does not revolve around India.

  • Sakthiivel on December 18, 2011, 9:12 GMT

    @ Mayan Mansilu : What you did when Aus visit SL??? I dont remember when SL won a test series in last 2 years..

  • on December 18, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    if south africa visits SL right now, surely match will be over in 3 days and SA will receive a innings defeat, so which team is best?

  • on December 18, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    You know, i hear all this "oh but x beat y the same as y beat z", the honest truth is. These are good sporting pitches, you knuckle down and you can score 400, you bowl well, and you will bowl the opposition out for less than 200. Im so tired of this "SA are weak against swing" or "Aus are weak against swing". ALL TEAMS ARE WEAK AGAINST SWING. Or seam, or spin. If its provided by an attack working hard and applying themselves. Its called good bowling.

  • rahulcricket007 on December 18, 2011, 5:56 GMT

    NO PROBLEM SL . IT HAPPENS TO US INDIANS TOO LAST YEAR . NOW THE SECOND TEST IS IN DURBAN WHERE SA HAS LOSE 3 TESTS CONSECUTIVELY AGAINST ENG , AUS , IND . GO FOR THE KILL NOW . IF YOU LOSE THE TOSS THEN THAT SMITH(PONTING) WILL BOWLFIRST . SHOW SOME COURAGE AND PUT AT LEAST 250 RUNS ON THE BOARD . BOWL THEM OUT FOR 150 .IT WILL PUT PRESSURE ON SA BATSMEN . REMEMBER THEY ALWAYS CHOKE IN PRESSURE .GOOD LUCK .

  • Sulee on December 18, 2011, 5:52 GMT

    watched most of the game first observation was that SL batters were lacking in positive footwork,, eg: sanga 2nd innings, also our seamers were trying to hit the deck all the time, whereas we should have concentrated on bowling in the channel more often,while working on swing and seam variations,also the dropped catch of prince by silva i thought was crucial.BTW lack of pay & management off the field seems to be pathetic, Dilshan needs to work on gelling the team together, in this trying time I think Mahela would be the best overall captain sans t20, where i think sl can start the process of grooming a new captain.

  • VipulPatki on December 18, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    I haven't read the comments as most of them turn into a three-way online game of abuses among Indian, Pakistani, and SL fans. They forget that the players of the three countries themselves share a great friendship. But I guess the non-payment of fees is playing on the players' minds. Dilshan's captaincy is not helping matters either. A series defeat is on the cards, but then most teams do perform poorly overseas, only Aus and SA being the exceptions.

  • on December 18, 2011, 5:48 GMT

    SL are at last playing to their potential. In the past few and occasional freak performances were outliers...I dont find anything to be concerned here they belong to teh second tier of Test Nations and will remain their for ever...And hello I still confirm that Chucker Murali got 800 run outs...imagine without all these fraek dismisals SL wud not have any Tests at all since 1992....and before that they were eternal minnows...Have yet to beat India in India after nearly 30 years of being granted test status....So all Lankan Fans just fold up and accept u the worst a...oops sorry u r now playing to your true potential

  • MDCP on December 18, 2011, 5:46 GMT

    Its the same top 6 batsmen who played in tests b4 the WC that is playing now. They did well before but not now and management and the capt says its TRANSITION. Its totally unacceptable. 4 batsmen got into the 30's in the 1st inns,so its was not an unplayable wicket or a bowling attack. But none of them converted the starts. This is pathetic stuff by our team. SA is not an easy place fr sub continent teams but the way we lose is sad without even giving a fight. With all the "BIG SHOTS" if a match ends in 3days might as well play some youngsters. If at all the game would end in 2 days but they would gather some experiance fr the future!!!

  • rahulcricket007 on December 18, 2011, 5:30 GMT

    " In a country where flat track bullies come to die ". HMMM . LAST YEAR A TEAM OF FLAT TRACK BULLIES(INDIA) CAME HERE & WIN A TEST ON THE BOUNCIEST PITCH OF SA . I HOPE SL ALSO DOES THE SAME . GOOD LUCK FOR 2ND TEST .

  • cheeseburgers on December 18, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    1) To win u need to take 20 wickets- SL lacks that 2) Dearth of World Class Batsmen(barring Sangakkara) 3) When pitches are flat - All SL batsmen Mahela, Samaraweera, Paranavitana...etc etc.. scores tons of runs. And when the ball moves around - they become flat. Lacks trait of being a World Class. I think they are Club Class !!! Not sure about the rest but the i personally rate this SL team with Bangladesh!! even WI and NZ are much better teams..any comments/criticism welcome...thx

  • johnathonjosephs on December 18, 2011, 4:53 GMT

    Nothing angered me more than Tahir's maniacal celebrations after getting a wicket. He gets the wicket of a tailender and he celebrates like mad like he has just gotten all 10 wickets in a match. At first it was interesting and humurous because you think he is just a funny fellow, but after a while it has gotten to be annoying. Wonder how his celebrations would be if he got out SRT. My guess is he would take his shirt off and take a couple laps around the field screaming and celebrating.

  • mahsang on December 18, 2011, 4:46 GMT

    People should remember these guys are not being payed their wages. And this too after the board made so much noise when the players opted to stay longer for the IPL in May. They need to sort out this ASAP. How many of you would continue working hard for your company/ job if they didn't pay your salary? Because that's wht these guys are facing right now...

  • SamRoy on December 18, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    @everyone Please chill out guys. Losing to SA 2-0 or 3-0 in South Africa is not the end of the world for Sri Lanka. Especially given the quality of fast bowlers SA has. It can get even tougher if Morkel returns to form. But what Sri Lanka needs to do quickly is build is a good bowling attack. Even when Vaas and Murali were there they had just two bowlers and then Malinga came around for a brief test career. That was the only time they had three quality bowlers and a very good attack. In order to win test matches one needs a good bowling attack. Currently, only Herath is a decent bowler. Welegedara can become decent but lacks a bit of zip. Others are way too inconsistent.

  • chandau on December 18, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    As it is the ICC Future Tours Program is lopsided towards the financial hubs; England Australia and India. If Sri Lanka keep performing like this they will be lucky to get any tests in England Australia and South Africa. It is all about the TV revenues and if a test does not last at least till the 5th day morning then that country will not be playing a lot of tests outside home. Take Mahela; for a guy who has been playing since 1997 (15 years and 120 odd tests) he has played in South Africa only 6 tests. In australia and New zealand 4 tests each. Yet everyone has a go at him calling him a fat track bully and all; what can he do but only play where he is supposed to play!! The FTP is a farce and its an agreed fact that ICC is a toothless tiger. The rich countries will make sure they play home and away as much as possible and others have to lick the bones. Even South Africa is in the same boat; they played 2 tests with OZ and Steyn said his vaccasion is longer than the series. :) LOL

  • johnathonjosephs on December 18, 2011, 4:39 GMT

    The most disappointing part of this match to me was Sangakkara. I don't know if he was fit (he did have some issues and wasn't supposed to play), but the world's Number 1 batsman getting out for 1 and 2 doesn't really look good. Sure, he got out to Philander, who is in extremely tremendous form, but it shouldn't make a difference. I think for this match SL was expecting danger from Morkel and Steyn and did not take Philander into account. If Philander was not playing this match, it would have been a different issue since Steyn took only 6 wickets (only 3 from the top order). All credit to Philander, AB, Smith, and Boucher. @Rana200, you are absolutely correct. Recently the world has been talking how subcontinent batsman struggle in green pitches and called them flat track bullies. We then saw England annihilated in the dusty spin pitches and SA did not win last series in SL. In These days, the sides are all close, but it is the conditions that win matches. SL is in bad form though

  • on December 18, 2011, 2:45 GMT

    bring back ajantha mendis for herath,dinesh chandimal for silva...shaminda eranga for thisara or dammika prasad

  • JustOUT on December 18, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Dont worry SL fans. India will follow you in test rankings after Sachin, Dravid & Laxman retires. They dont hv batsman of those calibre. All r IPL & ODI heroes

  • siri1234 on December 18, 2011, 2:29 GMT

    i cant understand why r we still sticking with dilshan after repeated n repeated failures.there should be a man who should lead the team in 2015 wc n that is not mj,ks or dilshan.so why not appoint that man as skipper n give him 3 yrs of time to gel with the team.becoz at worst he will produce the result that dilshan is producing.i personally thinks angelo is the man for 2015 wc but am not sure enof why some of the people thinks he is not the captain material.i think there will be a contest between angelo n tharanga as tio who will lead us in 2015 so why not decide that from now on n givee that person the captaincy n 3 yrs of time to gel with the team.

  • rohanbala on December 18, 2011, 2:04 GMT

    No team can win a test match with just two main contributing batsmen. The reason for SL's defeat is due to the fact that the team depends too much on their senior batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. Added to this, their captain is unable to "switch off" from his one-day batting mode. Dilshan must remember that its all about patience and concentration when you bat in a test match. The SL management needs to put their thinking caps on to ensure that the current team does not lose the series 3-0.

  • Sinhaya on December 18, 2011, 2:01 GMT

    Come on Lankans! Draw inspiration from how Pakistan won the 3rd test against England at the Oval last year after being clobbered in the 1st and 2nd inside 4 days! Also draw inspiration from how NZ beat Aussies this week after 18 years in a test match sans Vettori! Also, get buoyed by how Windies nearly beat India in Mumbai that day but ended in a tie. Please use the next 8 days to regroup, but please drop this Kaushal Silva and replace him with Dinesh Chandimal!!

  • NRI- on December 18, 2011, 1:53 GMT

    Okay, EVERY batting team in the world is brittle against fast swing bowling on helpful pitches. If you have Steyn, Philander, Jimmy Andersen, Cummins on a helpful track, then even if you stack the batting with Kallis, Dravid, Tendulkar, Cook, Bell, Trott, Ponting and Sangakarra, the batsmen will be blown away. These batsmen can play against Murali, Swann etc on a spinning track but pacy swing is something no batsman can conquer. SA need to replace Morkel with M De Lange and then they could even beat England. A team is only as good as its bowlers since batsmen everywhere are nearly the same (except NZ, Pak & WI, whose batting is weaker).

  • Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on December 18, 2011, 1:50 GMT

    @Dhanno, before you talk anything more about Sir Bradman please follow this link and read my comments (12 parts) there. It's a request. Thank you in advance for your understanding and considering my request. Here is the link: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/545355.html

  • Cynthia25 on December 18, 2011, 1:47 GMT

    Unfortunately no IPL also to blame this time. Bad scheduling. In any case India should stop feeding them with their money, because if you pay them with IPL money they use it as excuse for not enough match practice. They deserve no pay like how it is now.

  • OhhhMattyMatty on December 18, 2011, 1:24 GMT

    Most concerning is the demise of Sri Lankan cricket post Muralitharan. Has 1 man, in any sport, ever kept a single side afloat in the manner Murali clearly did for Sri Lanka. They were obviously a 1 man team all that time. Incredible. Murali did it on his own!

  • cricketforpeace on December 18, 2011, 1:24 GMT

    Most of the Sri Lankan batsmen seemed to be struggling of late. To expect them to do better than their present performance would need tremendous amount of aptitude and motivation. Of talent, there seems little doubt that they are extremely talented but are not able to convert that into match winning performances. In this respect, Jayawardena's record is disturbing. After playing 16 tests in 2010 and 2011, he has two centuries to his credit. Over all too, of his 29 centuries, 23 of them have come whilst playing in the subcontinent and with 20/29 being scored in Lanka alone. Of the 40 fifties; 36 have been scored in the subcontinent with 29/40 in Lanka alone. A miracle is needed if this batsman has to do well away from the subcontinent.

  • satanswish on December 18, 2011, 1:18 GMT

    Where are SL fans who claimed Mendis & Hearth will blow South Africans?? You guys get blew away yourself. Srilanka is as good as Bangladesh when they are playing away.

  • OhhhMattyMatty on December 18, 2011, 1:13 GMT

    Philanders had a good start, but he'd struggle to get in the England 2nd XI ahead of Onions, Tremlett and Finn. Hell, he might even struggle to get in the England 3rd XI with the likes of Shahzad, Rankin, Buck and others around. Time for Vernon to do it against a proper batting line up and on a pitch which doesn't resemble a field!

  • on December 18, 2011, 1:09 GMT

    SLC: doing the same thing and expecting different resutls

  • CricketPissek on December 18, 2011, 0:03 GMT

    No one should be surprised that a SL team sans Murali and Vaas will lose and lose badly. Even with them SL have a very poor track record in South Africa (although SL has only ever had 3 tours as far as I can remember. 1998, 2000, and 2002). What is frustrating is the lack of discipline shown by Dilshan and a few others. All credit to the Saffer bowlers, they are a far superior test side and SL players are way out of their depth. It's very sad to see the team I support in this state, but that's the reality! If the boys can give their 100% and show some courage and discipline for a prolonged period, we can hope some luck comes our way!

  • KingOwl on December 17, 2011, 22:27 GMT

    I think lots of people are getting way too emotional about this loss. Let me predict something - in 1 year's time, all will be forgotten. SL batsmen will again be making big runs and the English, SAfricans, etc will be struggling on spinning tracks. There is no single dominant team in cricket these days. It is conditions that win matches, not teams.

  • Dhanno on December 17, 2011, 22:00 GMT

    Jayavardhane, the new age Bradman is here. Unluckily stranded on 9999 just like the greatest batsman ever's test avg. Bradman Played and scored in only Australia and England, Jaya played (everywhere) and scored in only two countries (SL and India). Such a honor it must be for Kallis, Dravid, Sachin, Ponting, Lara, Sunny to see Jayawardhane joining their company soon enough!

  • S.Jagernath on December 17, 2011, 21:44 GMT

    Sri Lanka as a team were ranked 4th until recently & have the world's #1 batsmen,why is it that they don't tour?Has the FTP been worked to Sri Lanka's advantage?Mahela Jayawardene looked decent today,but he has not done anything of note away from the sub-continent.South Africa should be ruthless and demolish Sri Lanka.What happened to Sri Lanka playing their "brand of cricket"?Maybe Dilshan's shot in the 1st innings was an example of it.

  • WeeBee on December 17, 2011, 21:41 GMT

    Their peformances dont show that they were finalst of world cup 2011 ... Come on SL , do something

  • moBlue on December 17, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    SL could do two things to get back in this series right away! someone has got to talk to malinga and put him on the next flight to SA! IND at the same time last year have shown you the way, SL! you just don't have a zaheer or a sreesanth in your ranks. but you have malinga! he would rip through SA, the same team that zaheer and harbhajan ripped through *after* they did the same thing to IND last year! people assume SA are great against quality fast bowling... but the fact remains that they are not! they are pathetic! they can dish it out but they can't take it! don't take my word for it... check out IND vs. SA last year - same time! SA were shell-shocked when IND fought back after losing T1 by an inning. SL, you can do it too! get malinga to play. secondly, you need to *believe*! even our sreesanth bamboozled the same team in SA, more than once! do you know SA was all out for 84 against sreesanth in 2006 at home and all out for 131 against zaheer last year, and lost both tests?!?

  • timtom on December 17, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    @Synex_SL : Pls dont give lame excuses and if `s and but`s. .... Murali is the only reason SL have found victories in test in SL or outside....Once murali retired SL is thoroughly exposed. It was down-slide for SL from there on... SL team is marching strongly towards to pre-murali days. Dont see this going to change with current and new players... Current Zimbabwe or WI team will put a better than SL today...

  • RohanMarkJay on December 17, 2011, 20:35 GMT

    I can't remember a Sri Lankan team not be as competitive as this for at least two decades. Yes old hands like Muralitharan, Vaas, Ranatunga and De Silva made Sri Lanka a top cricket side in the 1990s and early 2000s. They need to quickly find out what the problems are and rectify them. They know they can't be as good with the greatest bowler in history Muralitharan departing the scene. Yet if they have the right management, captain, scouts and proper coaches etc.They should be still a top tier side knocking on number one or two position. Because the top tier sides like Australia, South Africa and England are very beatable there are no great teams like in the past.If Sri Lanka can get their act together then this era is one of the best opportunities for them to be number1 test nation. Because there are no outstanding sides anymore. Number one position is their for the taking. I think there is still plenty of talent in the Sri Lankan school system to produce good SL sides for the future.

  • on December 17, 2011, 20:04 GMT

    where is lakmalphysics today?

  • nickydude on December 17, 2011, 19:58 GMT

    Although, the defeat was on expected lines, few things remain puzzling, instead of mildly criticising Mahela for a non existent run, Dilshan actually endorsed him! 2ndly, smart Dilshan doesnt mention the horrid stroke he played & finally wonders of all, if the SLC does not even've the money to pay player fees, then how come there are 10 days for the nxt match, isnt that also a unnecessary burden for SLC.

  • binojpeter on December 17, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    Lets not be harsh at Lankans here. Most teams struggle in their first test in SA. Lets hope that they comeback in the next test.

  • Sakthiivel on December 17, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    @yashiharan: Actually vinod was wrong in calling SL lions at Home, SL never lions even at home they just loss to Aus in home., Again in flat track to Pakistan.

  • mrgupta on December 17, 2011, 19:20 GMT

    @yashiharan: Actually since Jan 2008 SL has played 11 away tests and only won 1 test outside SL and that too against WI where they even lost one test (not counting matches against BD and Zim). India though lost badly in Eng but have won 6 away test matches including victories in Aus, SA and SL. So, if a team has failed to win any test home or away in last one year and also lost against all major teams away without winning anything, then there is bound to be some criticism. Take it sportingly like we took it when SL enjoyed India's drubbing in England, which by the way was our first series loss (home or away) in 3 years. If i remember correctly India beat SL in SL when you had Malinga and we had Zaheer Khan injured.

  • on December 17, 2011, 19:03 GMT

    @yashiharan: Dude you dont need to be educated to comment on Sri Lanka's away performance,Sri Lanka yet to win a test in South Africa, Australia and INDIA (SURPRISED!!!). As, you have mentioned the England tour,then let me ask you what your team has done in England,and please dont forget that apart from that series we played like champions both in home and away,infact we drew the test series against the South Africa in South Africa. Sri Lanka is a team consist of just two batsmen,get them out and later is just matter of time. 3-0 is on the cards,prove me wrong..if u CAN!!

  • chamalqif on December 17, 2011, 18:56 GMT

    Mahela's average has dropped from 55 to 51. Such a drop of batting average from a batsman who scored nearly 10000 runs, is sounding that his time is over. Drop him & Tharanga Paranawitana who score only in practice matches. My prediction was nearly correct. It was; SA will beat SL by an innings and 75 runs. But SA bit better than my prediction because they won by 80 runs instead 75 runs. Thanks for Indians who encourage for the next game.

  • on December 17, 2011, 18:40 GMT

    @yashiran dare u call us illiterate what the people before me have said is absouletly truth we dominated sa last year for your knowledge and leave all that lets come to similar conditions have u even won a test match on Indian soil when oz were in their prime only india eat them in aus Adelaide 2003 and perth 2008 no one in between won a test match in aus and have u even won a test after murli retirement and we have won in eng too in 2007 what great things have u done away from home saying about ours and even eng has done away have they won in india one bad series only in eng what we had we are world champs we won the final beating sri . but sorry for deviating from ya but this unfair for sri not to paid for 9 months they are humans for gods sake i like dilshan sanga mahela matthews despite being and indian and hope they some some fight in durban and ya sa have a real good potent in philander he is overperforming the best in steyn and morkel well played sa

  • Synex_SL on December 17, 2011, 18:28 GMT

    With all do respect indian cricket fans please stick to the topic. This is bashing SL on their performance in SA. We don't want comparisons on any other teams. Coz no such comparison is true. SL has been unlucky to an extent. I don't know wether people agree with me. All this good sides like AUS, SA tour SL or we tour there when our chips are down or doing a horror show like this. None of these sides palyed against SL in there peak. India did and lost I'm talking about an era before 2008.

    About this match. If silva has taken princes catch at 178/5 the story would have been different atleast by a little and lifted the spirits. For the next match I think chandimal should play in place of Silva and if Mathews can't bowl he should be dropped irrespective of being the vice-captain because in this match we showed extra batter equals nothing if SL is 50/4 we are pretty sure its gonna be 120 or around all back in the hut. Toss played a role but that is to be expected in SA and SL should adapt

  • prashkannam on December 17, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    @rana...and all subcontinent team bashers..........as somebody rightly said its difficult for subcontinent teams 2 sudddely go out there in SAF and negotiate seam and swing so early....although i hav 2 say EVEN AUSSIES KIWIS WINDIES ALSO STRUGGLE ON SEAMING PITCHES...THE PROBLEAM AND SOLUTION LIES IN GIVING @ LEAST 3 PRACTICE GAMES FOR VISITING TEAMS CUMIN FRM SUCONTINENT AND VICE-VERSA FOR THE TEAMS FR0M AUS AND SAAF TO SUBCONTINENT.....BUT ONE HAS 2 SAY S.LANKA IS STRUGGLING AGAINST SPIN AND SEAM...FIRST AGAINST PAKIS IN UAE AN D NOW SEAM IN SAF!!

  • on December 17, 2011, 18:18 GMT

    whatever be positive do not hesitate play aggressive n positive cricket.... good luck for the rest of series we can find good players soon try to find from all island.

  • ChandraPrince on December 17, 2011, 18:14 GMT

    I am profoundly concerned about Sri Lanka crickets' shameful or rather embarrassing decent into mediocrity and dysfunction. What a waste of talent? I am baffled! I can't pin point one thing or another. But I can say like most others have done, what's really obvious is the lack of performance by the players. I can also point out, what's glaringly obvious is Tilakaratna Dilshan's the lack of competency as a captain. Tilakaratna Dilshan has performed consistently rather disappointingly. Once a real hero of explosive batting, he has fizzled out like a discarded can of soda. Dilshan is nowadays utterly unpredictable; consistently poor in batting -- not able demonstrate leadership qualities of vision or deploy effective strategy in lifting his team's performance. He was certainly the wrong man to head the handling of a critical transition. To me he looks mostly clueless and seems to making just empty gestures. To compound the slide, I feel there were whole host of other poor choices--Sri Lank

  • PKosgoda on December 17, 2011, 18:10 GMT

    This comment is quite appropriate to reproduce again Posted by SarathPSK on (December 13 2011, 15:32 PM GMT)

    There's no need of taking any risk in playing S'kara even M'ela who has a leg injury. The youngsters in the squad have better track record than the seniors as youngsters. Only exception is S'weera, who was an outstanding schoolboy batsman, though he was 1st brought into the side as a replacement for Murali and sent to bat at No 11. It's this kind of selectors that we've had for the last 3 decades. The selectors should play the best proven players the way the other countries do but, definitely not somebody's children. As we all know, we could win only 1 out of last 18 Test matches played with all these 99% fit favorites of S'tors. Therefore there's no need to hang on to these aging seniors any longer at a time when the Country has enough young talent.

  • Jarr30 on December 17, 2011, 18:05 GMT

    I am not at all suprise Srilankans beaten in 3 days because they can ONLY PLAY ON FLAT TRACKS..they need flat pitches to score 300+ runs outside Sri Lanka. M.Jayawardene's 9000 runs have come only in sub-continent flats pitches, the rest 998 runs have come in Australia, SA & NZ combined, that's why he averages below 23 in Australia & SA.

  • Deenesh on December 17, 2011, 17:57 GMT

    This was expected, dont know why everyone is so surprised. When SL go home winless, people will realize just how important Austrailia and India's wins were in their last two series.

  • Lord.emsworth on December 17, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    Not been paid isnt the cause of SL's decline. I have defended SL in these forums that cricinfo kindly offers us fans but I have also said SA will win easily. Sanga & Mahela as usual score well only when a series is already lost or in a 2nd innings when SL usually end up nowhere. MJ & Sanga nowadays play only for themselves & their averages. Dilshan hasn't the support he needs & In any case has lost his mojo. A whole new SL top order might do better. At any rate they can't do any worse than the present useless lot! There is no batting depth in this miserable SL team (They are in principal 'all out' after the fall of the 4th wicket!) and the bowling is less than 'toothless'. Long days ahead at the test bottom for SL & no worthy replacements in sight....Sigh!

  • yashiharan on December 17, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    All Indian Illiterate fans can shut their mouth, especially VinodGupte. Who are you to say that Srilanka is only good at home and lamb away. what useless Indian team did in England recently after becoming Champions?? shame on you all Indians who commenting on Srilanka's away performances.

  • on December 17, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    Kumar Sangakkara's average in SA:32 in 6 match,0 hunderd. Eng:30 in 9 matches 1 hundred. Aus 65 in 3 mtach (less number of matchs here , will decrease once he plays more). Impressive ;) Jayawardene's Average:29.91. Though Mahela is a class act unlike Sangakkara and I expect him to come good.

  • saforever on December 17, 2011, 17:40 GMT

    i want marchant de lange added to the squad of 11 for the next test. it will be a bold decision for sa to go with an all pace attack , but if they do that it will be very exciting to watch the sri lankan batsmen having no respite.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 17, 2011, 17:34 GMT

    Absolutely pathetic display by the Sri Lankans... goes to show their batsmen are ONLY capable inside SL. Mahela looked ordinary. I mean this guy is one of the senior most players in the side along with Sanga. Both of them just gave up their wickets. SA deserved to win this test. I cannot see anything other than a total whitewash job. SA should win 3-0. The Sri Lankan bowlers though did a decent job. Welegedara and Fernando bowled their hearts out. I hope SL fight in the next test or we can see another Bangladesh in the making.

  • rajatgupta_indianfan on December 17, 2011, 17:31 GMT

    Disappointing to see SL slump like this. There are hardly any good teams right now. Someone said Eng, Aus, SA and Ind are the only teams which have shown consistent performance in the recent time. I trust if u look at a 5 year window and record in different places, perhaps its just Aus and SA. With all the hype, Eng is a mediocre team who is winning because other teams are worse currently. Eagerly waiting for Pakistan to return to its caliber when they had players like Inzamam, Wasim Akram playing. They seem to be on the right track which seems good news. Another team which I believe is underrated and is going to do well in a few years is West Indies. They got a very impressive bowling unit and some very good batsmen. Its a matter of time they would start winning and bring a much needed competition in the cricket world

  • Herath-UK on December 17, 2011, 17:28 GMT

    Though in a mid tour Selectors should be brave and ask Dilshan to resign and install Mahela/Sanga or even Samaraweera as captain, otherwise the whole series will just sleep walk to a miserable rout.Dilshan is disappointingly out of form ,the captaincy has taken its toll and how the hell he is going to motivate others. This should happen definitely after the second test, if the same pathetic form happens in Durban.Dilshan should be warned now.Kaushal is not test material and should be replaced by Chandimal. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • saforever on December 17, 2011, 17:21 GMT

    i predicted all the 3 test matches ending before the 4th day, well the 1st pne has ended within the 3rd day. hopefully sa will continue this show and sign, seal and deliver a 3-0 whitewash, anything else than that will be considered a series loss for sa. vernon overshadowed steyn in this match, what a start to his test career

  • SnowSnake on December 17, 2011, 17:19 GMT

    Congratulations to SA. Excellent all around performance. SL is badly hurt since Malinga and Murli left them. Better luck in next game.

  • Gupta.Ankur on December 17, 2011, 17:17 GMT

    The problem for Sri Lanka is that none of its batsmen can score runs outside the slow pitches of their country.....

    Mahela has just 9(3 in asia) centuries outside Srilanka of his tally of 29.....Sangakkara has again 4 out of his 9 away centuries in Asia.....

    This should probe my point..........

  • getsetgopk on December 17, 2011, 17:14 GMT

    its bye bye time to rankings for SL, Bowling was there prime problme and now its their batting too, like a cherry on top of every thing, maybe its time to get rid of people like mahela, dilshan and bring in new faces, they are past their best. good win by SA.

  • on December 17, 2011, 17:12 GMT

    My recommendations for the second test. Let Tharanga open with someone else, most likely Lahiru Thirimanne. Dilshan should step backwards to his original position at No. 6. I am not that optimistic about Angelo playing in the second test may be the entire series. So No. 6 position will be vacant. Let Chandimal taken in at No. 7 as wicket keeper batsman. We need more batsmen since lower order cannot be relied upon for runs. Depending on the wicket we should seriously consider playing Mendis as second spinner also I cannot imagine that Dhammika Prasad will havet he fitness to last a test match and if he breaks down and with Mathews not there or unable to bowl we will have a serious problem. Dilhara is also a major culprit. Although he did look threatning at times he leaked a lot of runs even to tailenders. Thilan once he gets in should look for a big big score. Thirties are not good enough in tests. If Dilshan fails in middle order also he should honourably step down as captain.

  • VinodGupte on December 17, 2011, 17:11 GMT

    if there is one team who is a lion at home and a blindfolded, wounded lamb away from home, it is Sri Lanka. they can win matches at SSC, Colombo, but can never win matches when they are out of that 22 X 5 strip.

  • BellCurve on December 17, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    Since scoring 174 against India in August 2010 (on the flattest of subcontinent tracks), Mahela has been dismissed no less than 25 times at an average of only 26.28. During this period his Test batting average has dropped from almost 55 to a fraction over 51. Given his age I think it is time for the Sri Lankan selectors to make the tough choice and drop him. He appears to be past his sell by date.

  • vallavarayar on December 17, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    Dilshan sucks as a captain and a batsman. He's no test quality player and definitely not a thinking captain, which is what a desperate side with just one or two international quality players needs.

  • moBlue on December 17, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    apropos of my previous comment, it was mostly zaheer and harbhajan [and not sreesanth this time around, though it was sreesanth in the first test in 2006 - see below] in tests 2 and 3 who did the damage, as IND fought back brilliantly against a shell-shocked SA just a year ago! so... SL... do not give up! SA is just as vulnerable against the moving ball [zaheer is not extra-quick but he is smart, and can swing the ball, old or new, at will!] as SL were yesterday... if you don't believe me, check out the stats below for yourself - in particular T2 in 2010/11 [and also T3 where kallis scored 2 centuries to save SA's hide!] and also T1 in 2006 when sreesanth gave SA a taste of their own medicine!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/463137.html http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsavind/engine/match/249215.html

  • LordOfCric on December 17, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    I am still refusing the fact that some batsmen are flat track bullies eventhough i know they are. What bowling attack Dilshan is taking about? Same attack who let SA post more than 400 runs on the board......... Feilding display from Srilankan side earned my condolensence; I can clearly see anoter BANDLADESH TEAM in making...................................

  • cheguramana on December 17, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    A bit alarming to see the sudden decline in the standards of Sri Lankan cricket. SL has produced some wonderfully talented cricketers. And the present team has players of class, Sangakkara and Jayawardane, Dilshan to name a few. As it is, cricket is hardly a 'world' game. Just a handful of teams show consistent top classs performance - ENG, AUS, SA and India. And even these teams have wobbled in recent past. We dont need another team slipping to Bangladesh standards ! Hope the SL board puts its house in order, fast.

  • Ellis on December 17, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    This was a massacre, not just a defeat. Dilshan must live on a different planet to the rest of us. The SL bowlers could not capitalise on having SA five down for less than 160, and let them get a lead of well over two hundred. On the evidence of this Test, SL is hopelessly out of their depth. Dilshan should take his own advice and perform with the bat, or leave himself out of the side. The SL batsmen could not handle the movement and bounce this wicket offered. The keeper is suspect, and the bowling cannot apply constant pressure to capitalise on breakthroughs.SL cricket overall is in a total mess at the moment. The players carry all the blame while agents, politicians, provocateurs and managers hide in their holes. Will some strong minded, fair, committed Sri Lankan with a knowledge and interest in Cricket, please stand up and save SL Cricket from the abyss? I believe such people still exist in that beautiful country.

  • samincolumbia on December 17, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    I do not see any SL fans here. They are busy only when India is playing!!

    They keep talking about India's record overseas. India won a match in SA after getting beaten in the first game. I won't be surprised if SL waves the white flag and takes the next flight home. LOL. Heck even Pakistan thrashed them black and blue.

  • moBlue on December 17, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    take heart, SL! this same thing happened to IND as well at about the same time last year! IND was beaten by an inning at the same ground on a similar pitch in the first test. yet, SL, you have to remember that the saffers are vulnerable to the same kind of bowling! IND has proved it a couple of times, at least! they can dole it out but they can't take it. in the second test, sreesanth, the eccentric but brilliant IND swing bowler worked SL over almost single-handedly, harbhajan joined in, and SA were routed for like 80+ runs, and never recovered in the second test as bhajji created major problems for them. IND won and SA had their tail between their legs. the third test was played out to a respectable draw and only the redoubtable kallis saved SA from a rampaging harbhajan! so SL, you have to remember that SA is all sound and fury at this pitch, but can be tamed at others! their batters were all the same last year as well, and are vulnerable against the moving ball!

  • KingOwl on December 17, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    The problem is simple. They just haven't adjusted to these conditions. They need time and practice - they have none, given the tour schedules these days. So, a team from the sub-continent has little chance when faced with these wickets. E.g.: India in England, and now this. At least, SL put a much better fight than India in England. So, I expected more. But to be fair, aren't we expecting way too much from a team with little preparation for these wickets? Give them a few months practice in SA, and they will be very competitive, I have no doubt. It is far easier for batsmen from 'seaming track' countries to adjust to slow/low tracks than the other way around. So, we need to put things in perspective. We need better schedules where visiting teams have time to get adjusted, to retain interest in test matches.

  • prashkannam on December 17, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    My heart goes out to the srilankan cricketers........its been tuff..without pay for 9 months..their board in disarray....i feel sorry for them.....politicking...bcci need 2 help them financially.....being an indian....i like lankan ckt....their mind just doesnt seem 2 b there...best of luck lanka!!

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  • prashkannam on December 17, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    My heart goes out to the srilankan cricketers........its been tuff..without pay for 9 months..their board in disarray....i feel sorry for them.....politicking...bcci need 2 help them financially.....being an indian....i like lankan ckt....their mind just doesnt seem 2 b there...best of luck lanka!!

  • KingOwl on December 17, 2011, 16:34 GMT

    The problem is simple. They just haven't adjusted to these conditions. They need time and practice - they have none, given the tour schedules these days. So, a team from the sub-continent has little chance when faced with these wickets. E.g.: India in England, and now this. At least, SL put a much better fight than India in England. So, I expected more. But to be fair, aren't we expecting way too much from a team with little preparation for these wickets? Give them a few months practice in SA, and they will be very competitive, I have no doubt. It is far easier for batsmen from 'seaming track' countries to adjust to slow/low tracks than the other way around. So, we need to put things in perspective. We need better schedules where visiting teams have time to get adjusted, to retain interest in test matches.

  • moBlue on December 17, 2011, 16:37 GMT

    take heart, SL! this same thing happened to IND as well at about the same time last year! IND was beaten by an inning at the same ground on a similar pitch in the first test. yet, SL, you have to remember that the saffers are vulnerable to the same kind of bowling! IND has proved it a couple of times, at least! they can dole it out but they can't take it. in the second test, sreesanth, the eccentric but brilliant IND swing bowler worked SL over almost single-handedly, harbhajan joined in, and SA were routed for like 80+ runs, and never recovered in the second test as bhajji created major problems for them. IND won and SA had their tail between their legs. the third test was played out to a respectable draw and only the redoubtable kallis saved SA from a rampaging harbhajan! so SL, you have to remember that SA is all sound and fury at this pitch, but can be tamed at others! their batters were all the same last year as well, and are vulnerable against the moving ball!

  • samincolumbia on December 17, 2011, 16:39 GMT

    I do not see any SL fans here. They are busy only when India is playing!!

    They keep talking about India's record overseas. India won a match in SA after getting beaten in the first game. I won't be surprised if SL waves the white flag and takes the next flight home. LOL. Heck even Pakistan thrashed them black and blue.

  • Ellis on December 17, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    This was a massacre, not just a defeat. Dilshan must live on a different planet to the rest of us. The SL bowlers could not capitalise on having SA five down for less than 160, and let them get a lead of well over two hundred. On the evidence of this Test, SL is hopelessly out of their depth. Dilshan should take his own advice and perform with the bat, or leave himself out of the side. The SL batsmen could not handle the movement and bounce this wicket offered. The keeper is suspect, and the bowling cannot apply constant pressure to capitalise on breakthroughs.SL cricket overall is in a total mess at the moment. The players carry all the blame while agents, politicians, provocateurs and managers hide in their holes. Will some strong minded, fair, committed Sri Lankan with a knowledge and interest in Cricket, please stand up and save SL Cricket from the abyss? I believe such people still exist in that beautiful country.

  • cheguramana on December 17, 2011, 16:49 GMT

    A bit alarming to see the sudden decline in the standards of Sri Lankan cricket. SL has produced some wonderfully talented cricketers. And the present team has players of class, Sangakkara and Jayawardane, Dilshan to name a few. As it is, cricket is hardly a 'world' game. Just a handful of teams show consistent top classs performance - ENG, AUS, SA and India. And even these teams have wobbled in recent past. We dont need another team slipping to Bangladesh standards ! Hope the SL board puts its house in order, fast.

  • LordOfCric on December 17, 2011, 16:52 GMT

    I am still refusing the fact that some batsmen are flat track bullies eventhough i know they are. What bowling attack Dilshan is taking about? Same attack who let SA post more than 400 runs on the board......... Feilding display from Srilankan side earned my condolensence; I can clearly see anoter BANDLADESH TEAM in making...................................

  • moBlue on December 17, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    apropos of my previous comment, it was mostly zaheer and harbhajan [and not sreesanth this time around, though it was sreesanth in the first test in 2006 - see below] in tests 2 and 3 who did the damage, as IND fought back brilliantly against a shell-shocked SA just a year ago! so... SL... do not give up! SA is just as vulnerable against the moving ball [zaheer is not extra-quick but he is smart, and can swing the ball, old or new, at will!] as SL were yesterday... if you don't believe me, check out the stats below for yourself - in particular T2 in 2010/11 [and also T3 where kallis scored 2 centuries to save SA's hide!] and also T1 in 2006 when sreesanth gave SA a taste of their own medicine!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/463137.html http://www.espncricinfo.com/rsavind/engine/match/249215.html

  • vallavarayar on December 17, 2011, 17:07 GMT

    Dilshan sucks as a captain and a batsman. He's no test quality player and definitely not a thinking captain, which is what a desperate side with just one or two international quality players needs.

  • BellCurve on December 17, 2011, 17:09 GMT

    Since scoring 174 against India in August 2010 (on the flattest of subcontinent tracks), Mahela has been dismissed no less than 25 times at an average of only 26.28. During this period his Test batting average has dropped from almost 55 to a fraction over 51. Given his age I think it is time for the Sri Lankan selectors to make the tough choice and drop him. He appears to be past his sell by date.