South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, East London January 13, 2012

Sri Lanka can only get better

42

Match facts

January 14, East London
Start time 10:00 (8:00 GMT)

The Big Picture

Sri Lanka, like their fellow World Cup finalists, find themselves tumbling down a seemingly endless abyss. And like with India, the big question is whether Sri Lanka are doing anything to arrest their descent. The Durban Test suggested a revival, but in reality that win was down to a magnificent exhibition of in-the-trenches grit from Thilan Samaraweera, and an equally large-hearted effort from Rangana Herath. Sri Lanka responded by leaving Samaraweera out of the ODI squad, and Herath out of the starting XI for Paarl. Their presence may not have altered the result in that game, but nonetheless they were missed.

There's only one way Sri Lanka can go from 43 all out, but a revival will require application from the big three at the top. Tillakaratne Dilshan has been the biggest culprit, attempting million-dollar strokes too early, and falling for single-digit scores five times in seven innings so far on the tour. Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, between them, have managed just one century in 14 efforts. Even that would not have transpired had Mark Boucher not dropped a regulation catch from Sangakkara early in his second-innings effort in Durban. Sri Lanka's attack will be desperate for their batsmen to turn the corner in East London, where the conditions are expected to be similar to Paarl's.

Everything South Africa tried worked in the first one-dayer. The batting clicked in unison to leave the Sri Lankan attack with figures much worse than they deserved. AB de Villiers attempted radical 7-2 fields, only for his bowlers to back him up and the Sri Lanka batsmen to play into his hands. At some point in his tenure, de Villiers will be confronted by tougher circumstances, and given the capricious nature of the one-day format, it could happen in the very next game.

Form guide

(Most recent first)

South Africa WLWLL
Sri Lanka LLLLW

Watch out for...

Albie Morkel's short stints with bat and ball in Paarl did not do much damage in the context of the game, but were good indicators of the form he is in. Coming in at No. 5, he slugged two monstrous sixes in the end overs, and bowled two overs of menacing seam for no reward later in the evening. If the top order performs well again, South Africa could consider promoting him even higher in the batting line-up.

Nuwan Kulasekara was unlucky not to pick up more wickets in Paarl, after producing a bunch of prodigious inswingers with the new ball. Like several of his team-mates, he will be hoping for a change of fortune in East London.

Team news

Dilhara Fernando had a knee concern on the eve of the match. Ajantha Mendis, who had a recurrence of a back niggle, has been ruled out of the series. Sachithra Senanayake has been named Mendis' replacement, and could be available for the third ODI. Thisara Perera or Dhammika Prasad could come in for Fernando.

Sri Lanka: (probable) 1 Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), 2 Upul Tharanga, 3 Kumar Sangakkara (wk), 4 Dinesh Chandimal, 5 Mahela Jayawardene, 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Thisara Perera / Dilhara Fernando, 8 Kosala Kulasekara, 9 Nuwan Kulasekara, 10 Lasith Malinga, 11 Rangana Herath

Rory Kleinveldt, who was benched in Paarl, has been ruled out of the series with an injured quadricep muscle. South Africa are yet to name a replacement. Hashim Amla is waiting on the birth of his first child, and might pull out of the game at the last moment. In case he does, Johan Botha will have to step in, forcing South Africa to rejig their batting order.

South Africa: (probable) 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Hashim Amla, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 AB de Villiers (capt & wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Faf du Plessis, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Robin Peterson, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Lonwabo Tsotsobe, 11 Morne Morkel

Stats and trivia

  • South Africa have lost only four times at Buffalo Park, and the last of those defeats came in 1999
  • Sri Lanka have a 2-1 win-loss record here. The victories came against New Zealand and Zimbabwe, and the defeat against South Africa

Quotes

"It bothers me when I am not the one run out. If somebody else gets run out it bothers me more than anything."
Hashim Amla is concerned after being involved in four run-outs this season.

"We were very disappointed with our performance in the first one-dayer and we apologise to our cricketing family in Sri Lanka."
Sri Lankan coach Geoff Marsh doesn't offer excuses for the team's woefulness.

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • yorkslanka on January 14, 2012, 8:32 GMT

    @heshini- minister going to give a stern lecture? Is that by using his extensive cricketing knowledge? Maybe he should look in the mirror to see what's ruining our cricket...cric pls publish

  • Mathu. on January 14, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    Before blaming or firing anyone SL board and minister should look into the problem wisely, Are there any seam pitches available in S/Lanka for players tp practice? How can a team expect home condition in countries like England, S.Africa and Australia when opponent have a strong seam line up. It is time at least now to build up seamer friendly pitches if not Colombo in some other part of the county and get the players practice in different weather & pitch conditions so then they will not be any longer strangers for those seam & bouncy conditions. Otherwise problem persist & winning chances in those conditions will be only on mistakes of other side not the talents of S/L team.

  • dummy4fb on January 14, 2012, 7:45 GMT

    Cricket Is all about how you Perform in under pressure not in the way you played in last match thus dont under estimate Lankans there very much capable of Bounce back in any Time .....

  • dummy4fb on January 14, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    what happened to shaminda eranga!!for me he s best pacy in sri lanka!!!

  • espnchekmate on January 14, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    @ Raj Pallasetty : i agree with you... you could add to your list a solid opener called Dilshan Munaweera. theirs also players like Kithruwan Vithanage,Sachith Pathirana,Chatura Peries(these 2 are former under 19 captains both played in da recently concluded hong kong sixes and was a treat to watch them play,these 2 where just clobbering bowlers all over the park in ease like checking their shots..both are ALL ROUNDERS and both are in their early 20's) ,Angelo Perera,Ramith Rambukwella...

  • dummy4fb on January 14, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Sanga should come back as captain. Mahela & Dilshan should be droped temporaly at least. Give Kapugedara an opener role as an experiment. Dimuth Karunarathna is worth trying. No point complaining just try to get Sanga to build a team around him. Anjelo is now a liability for the team. Think of a better

  • dummy4fb on January 14, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    This is about politics for me... Playing against the administation is a great insult for the game if so .... yes Sri lanka can win the match easily if win the toass & bat first.. i put my bet in .it is all about either sanga, Upul, dilshan or Chanidimal to go for 100. i know this is not easy. but sri lanka is the best team who did the same in last times in history. just repeat it. You are having best bowler in one day history . why not do the baiscs right.. i know this will not be a black Wensday again .

  • Dale-force_winds_steyn_the_pitch on January 14, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Buffalo Park is apparently sold out. Weather in East London is overcast - a dream day for Steyn on a pitch famous for keeping low. There's a good chance that Hashim won't play today - I can't picture SA taking the risk of putting him in and having him leave during the match. This pitch will probably help Sri Lanka more than the other.

    I agree with Zookinii that Samaraweera should be in the middle order, because a calm head is what is needed there.

    Expect a batting order reshuffle for the Proteas with Hash possibly not being in the side. AB to open possibly?

  • espnchekmate on January 14, 2012, 6:32 GMT

    Usually when SRI LANKA GOES ON A TOUR TO A COUNTRY LOSING THE FIRST GAME IS A MUST FOR THEM WHATEVER THE FORMAT THEIR PLAYING IN... IN THE PAST HOWEVER THE LIONS HAD THE ABILITY OF BOUNCING BACK AND GO ONTO REGISTER SERIES WINS WHEN JAYASURIYA,ATHAPATTU,JAYAWARDENE AND SANGAKKARA WHERE CAPTAINING THE NATIONAL TEAM. HOWEVER IN THE RECENT PAST TILLEKERETNE THOUGHT OTHERWISE ,WE WILL CONTINUE OUR TOUR STARTING TRADITION OF LOSING THE FIRST GAME WHEN WE CAN WIN EVEN , WIN THE NEXT MATCH AND GO BACK TO LOSING WAYS....AND LOSE THE SERIES AND FORM OTHER PLAYERS OF OTHER OPPOSITIONS WHO ARE LACKING FORM... SO THAT THEY COULD FACE OTHER OPPOSITIONS MORE EASILY... BACK TO SQUARE 1....!!!!!!!!!!!

  • dummy4fb on January 14, 2012, 6:26 GMT

    Please Dilshan go away or resign from the captaincy, bcz u do not know at all and give to Sanga and mahela by catching their feet if u r a really working for sri lankan cricket. if u continues, we will finish the ODI with 0-5

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