South Africa v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Paarl January 11, 2012

Worst game of my career - Dilshan

ESPNcricinfo staff

Fact: Sri Lanka's 258-run loss to South Africa is the worst defeat in the country's ODI history. In numbers terms it is Sri Lanka's heftiest defeat and the lowest ODI total they have ever recorded. There is no escaping that and Tillakaratne Dilshan did not try to.

He confirmed the team were scraping the bottom of the barrel and had harsh words for their ineptitude with the bat. "It was definitely the worst game of my career," said Dilshan, his strongest statement on the South African visit. "The batting unit, again, put in a bad performance. We didn't even come close."

Anger doesn't really describe the tone that Dilshan used, neither does disappointment, nor even disgust. On this tour, Dilshan has not been the kind of captain whose emotions cover a spectrum or, if they do, he does well not to show them too readily. Clearly the context of this defeat has irritated him but he is not going to suggest radical changes to the Sri Lankan style in order to put right the obvious wrongs.

"I don't think we can do different things," Dilshan said. "We are doing everything right, we are training hard but we are not carrying those things into the middle. We have to address what's happening in the middle."

What happened this time was somewhat unexplainable. On a pitch that did not grow demons as the lights came on, Sri Lanka played poor cricket. The short ball, pace and bounce undid them and all the progress they had made in showing that they are not susceptible to those factors unravelled. Suddenly they were back to square one, or perhaps even square minus one.

Dilshan struggled to explain exactly what caused the horror. "They bowled really well but we had some bad shot selection," he said. "This is a very good track but their line and length was good."

Sri Lanka appeared to have made the adjustment against the South African attack in the Test match in Durban and the subsequent one in Cape Town, even though they lost heavily. According to Dilshan, the inability to build on good performances is Sri Lanka's biggest problem. "We have to look at our consistency," he said. "We've played good cricket one day and bad cricket the next day. The same thing happened in the Test series. We have to address that over the next couple of one-dayers."

After an embarrassing loss in the first Test, Sri Lanka called a meeting of players and management and said the chat did help to resolve some of the pressing issues. Dilshan hinted that another conference of that sort would be needed to dissect some of the current problems. "We have to sit down and discuss," Dilshan said. "At the moment we can't point fingers."

Calls within Sri Lanka may be for the Test series hero, Thilan Samaraweera to be asked to pack his bags for South Africa again. Dilshan rubbished suggestions that Sri Lanka were missing someone of his calibre. "I don't think we are missing any experience in the batting," he said. "We have decided to go with youngsters for the future and we are going with [Dinesh] Chandimal at four and Mahela [Jayawardene]. Thilan won't come and bat at number No. 7 but this batting line-up can do a better job."

The batting collapse has taken the spotlight off Sri Lanka's bowers, who, barring Lasith Malinga, were off colour and lethargic on a pitch that would only reward hard work. The concerns with the ball have not escaped Dilshan, who said that it is another department Sri Lanka will have to work on. "We also didn't bowl well. This wicket was not a 300 wicket. We thought somewhere around 260 or 270," he said.

After that statement came one thing that Dilshan could reflect positively on. "But, everyone thought they could get to 330 but we came back strongly in the last 10 overs."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on January 14, 2012, 13:30 GMT

    comparing to india lankan boys india has won matches outside also this decade you have history of being humiliated outside india 2007 won series in england drew in sa 2011 and competed well in one day not all out for 43 lolzz

  • dummy4fb on January 13, 2012, 16:26 GMT

    As a South Africa supporter, we still have some problems of our own. Graham Smith is simply way out of form and has to prove himself in the domestic scene again. Mark Boucher reached his sell-by date some time back, and for the life of me I cannot understand why we keep investing in him when we should be blooding in younger talent for the future. He is neither decent with the gloves (especially with Tahir), or with the bat. AB de Villiers is far superior in every respect. Also, the great Jacques Kallis is not going to be an evergreen for much longer. He is already 36. We are nowhere near finding an allrounder to balance the team. Replacing Kallis is virtually impossible, but I believe every team needs at least one allrounder to establish balance. AB de Villiers is the natural answer, but he seems unkeen to be the gloveman in the longer format of the game. So if not him, who is the next Pollock or next young Boucher? Selectors remain fast asleep!

  • Mayan820 on January 13, 2012, 14:45 GMT

    Well done Proteas . . . keep going for those records . . .47 (Australia), now 43 (Sri Lanka). Now is your time to exact your revenge on the fans of all the other international teams who are still calling you chokers. If I was A.B. de Villiers I would set my sights on New Zealand next, and then the English and Pakistan. The biggest prize of all for us South Africans will, of course, be to see the following headline in the major newspapers around the world after the final of the 2015 World Cup, i.e. "Chokers win World Cup 2015"!!

  • popped on January 13, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    @SLgamaya I suspect you have not played real cricket , since when was deciding to bat or field first was a team decision ? on another planet maybe? trying to protect dilshan is pathetic he is the captain , as one you should command the respect of the team, dilshan failure as a captain and a batsman is a major problem with this team, any captain who shows scant respect for his team (as we see from his on field antics) doesn't deserve a place in any team , he should stick to T20s only as a player and you SLgamaya should only stick to Reading the comments section PLEASE!!!

  • Sachwid on January 13, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    once i heard some good suggestion on TV from former cricketer/selecter that Mavan Attapathu should be given the task of commentating while Sanath Jayasuriya should be given the position of batting coach

  • AwaisUsmani on January 13, 2012, 1:44 GMT

    Srilankan team need prayers badly. luck is not on thier way. they must pray, that might works.

  • dummy4fb on January 12, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    it seems so foolish, seeing indian and sri lankan fans arguing... it's like arguing about who is the bigger looser... The fact is right now both of them are... But are they really to be blamed? I find pitches both in india and sri lanka pathetic, to say the least... the real pitches are the one where contest between bat and ball is even...

    by the way i am an indian myself and i totally agree ipl has quite a lot to do, with these dismal performances of both the teams, as it is evident that players from these two countries are involved the most...

  • dummy4fb on January 12, 2012, 23:41 GMT

    Based on this performance the Lions aren't sleep they're unconcious. Sleeping lions would have woken up from these recent results. Its time to get the roar back into the lions and get lionheart Sangakara to lead the pack to victory and push young cub chandimal down the order as he will end up at number 4 batting prey for opposition hunters.. Captain "what shot was that?" Dilshan to step down from the captaincy and to bat lower down the order.

  • dummy4fb on January 12, 2012, 20:59 GMT

    we dont have a cricket anymore.....sorry to say....our country cricket DEAD.

  • SLMaster on January 12, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    nyc_missile made me that we are bad all compared to Indian. We loose only match at a time in a series in overseas grounds. Only one bad match costing SL and causing Dilshan headaches. India getting whitewashed with no chance at all. Since IPL everyone participated went down ... even AUS. For SL the problem started at IPL and its money, then all others bad coaches, SLC administrators, bad selectors etc. came board on to the wagon. First remove partipation in IPL and begging India. Indian is bad SL. SL will find money when they do that ... by palying better cricket. Then drop the contracts for the likes of Dilhara, Chamara silva

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