South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, East London January 14, 2012

Sri Lanka batting too slow at start - Dilshan

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Tillakaratne Dilshan has admitted that his side were "20 or 25 runs" short of a winning total in the second one-day international against South Africa in East London. Sri Lanka put on 236 for 6 after a slow start - they had managed just 82 runs by the halfway stage of their innings.

"The wicket was slow but we tried to get to 250," Dilshan said. "In the first 20 overs, we did not get enough runs. They bowled and fielded really well."

South Africa removed Dilshan in the second over and Kumar Sangakkara in the 10th, forcing Sri Lanka to retreat into defensive mode. Dinesh Chandimal had to partner Upul Tharanga in building an innings from the ground up and then join forces with bigger-hitters to craft a competitive total. "He [Chandimal] is one of the fine youngsters of Sri Lankan cricket," Dilshan said. "We wanted to give him opportunity at No. 4 and we hope he can carry on the same form in the next three matches."

Although South Africa's bowlers did not extract great pace or bounce from a tame strip, they were able to strangle Sri Lanka, something captain AB de Villiers put down to their combined efforts. "We took crucial wickets halfway through the game," de Villiers said. "We picked up Sangakkara and Jayawardene early on, and those two are some of their match-winners. It was a good team effort."

Given South Africa's record in chasing moderate but tricky scores, Sri Lanka would have thought they were in with a chance throughout. But they failed to take early wickets and only made breakthroughs later on in the innings, when South Africa were on course for victory. Dilshan said the make-up of the side may have affected their ability to claim more wickets.

"Another spinner might have been handy on this wicket," Dilshan admitted. Sri Lanka could not play two specialist spinners because Ajantha Mendis was out with injury - he had a recurrence of an earlier back problem ahead of the match - forcing Dilshan to rely on himself to some degree. "I bowled nine overs, because I thought this wicket will be helpful for the spinners."

Dilshan brought himself on to attack JP Duminy, who is thought to be susceptible against spin. Duminy defied both him and Rangana Herath, and recorded a competent 66 after being moved up the order into the top four. "I prefer a bit of time when I walk out to the middle and I wasn't given that opportunity in the previous matches," Duminy said. "We are going to mix it up between myself, AB and Faf [du Plessis] for those three positions [Nos. 4, 5 and 6] in the line-up. My goal was to get us as close as possible."

With South Africa showing flexibility and innovation in their 2-0 lead, the breaking point is almost upon Sri Lanka. They will need to win the third match in Bloemfontein to stay alive in the series. "We can take a lot of positives after losing the first one-dayer badly. This one came close," Dilshan said. "If we can lift our game 10-15%, we can do well in the next three matches. Me, Sanga [Sangakkara] and Mahela [Jayawardene] are not in great form. At least two of us have to come to the party."

Sri Lanka will be boosted by the knowledge that South Africa will go into the remainder of the series somewhat unsettled at the top. Hashim Amla has been released for paternal duties after scoring a century and a half-century in the first two matches. "Hashim will be missed. Hopefully we clinch the series without him as soon as possible," de Villiers said. "But we have a lot of talent in South African cricket and I am looking forward to what the selectors come up with [as a replacement for Amla]."

Alviro Petersen is expected to be called up, to open with Graeme Smith. De Villiers indicated that the former captain will keep his position, despite his poor run of late. "Graeme is a huge factor in our team," de Villiers said. "He is not scoring 1000 runs in every game at the moment but he will be back soon."

South Africa's squad for the next match will be announced on Sunday. The selectors are also deliberating the right time to offer Jacques Kallis a rest.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sudu_putha on January 17, 2012, 5:21 GMT

    We want Dilshan to go...pls get Ange as a cap

  • dummy4fb on January 17, 2012, 1:03 GMT

    Tharanga as captain? Excellent idea Ashayne De Silva: Tharanga is a modest, level-headed boy with very little ego... He could lead SL just like Mahela did in his early captaincy.

  • dummy4fb on January 16, 2012, 20:14 GMT

    Sorry boys we were very proud of you. Dilshan is clearly struggling with the bat. Captaincy is too much for him. It is time for Mahela to stop trying to be a journalist and get back to playing cricket and may be take over from Dilshan. Sanga is supposed to be one of the worlds top batsman. 4 runs from 28 balls does not reflect that at all. Angelo you were playing an ODI you took it too easy. I do not think you are mature enough to take over the captaincy as yet. I cannot understand the selectors. Thilan Samaraweera was in the world cup squad much to our surprise. He was instrumental winning one test against SA and drawing the next. Why on earth did you not let him play the ODI's whilst our boys get their act together. All the players, selectors and administrators are running around like headless chickens. Do you have any pride for our much loved country Sri Lanka.It does not appear so. Come on LIONS Roar!!!!

  • ShehanJay on January 16, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    If Dilshan had been an Australian, he would never have been included in the test side. Probably in the T20 team and maybe in the one-day squad. But if he kept failing like like this in his batting, he would have been dropped like a hot cake. The other problem in SL cricket is politics in cricket and players not knowing when to retire.

  • fadms on January 16, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    In my opinion, Mahela needs a big break.

  • dummy4fb on January 16, 2012, 1:11 GMT

    SL where do you go from here. People want Mahela as the captain. Can he hold on to his place in the team?

  • Penny71 on January 15, 2012, 23:16 GMT

    Hey DIL,

    Ask your vice captain (Mathews) what he did from overs 46 to 50. We could ahve easily hit 250, if youe wise captain is actually a captain material. He did not think of throwing big hits and taken singles to give Chandimal who miss hitting all valuable scoring balls. Thanranga, Kula and Mahela did goo building up. It was short sighted Mathews and Chandimal's lack of experience at end overs cost us the game.

  • dummy4fb on January 15, 2012, 21:59 GMT

    Oh Sri Lanka, you have done it again. Why dont SL selectors give a break to Mahela , Sanga and Dilshan? They can re-discover their form and touch and return to the playing eleven later. They dont contribute anything to the team at the moment. They are just blocking the young talent such as Chandimal.

  • om.pani on January 15, 2012, 17:36 GMT

    after wasting 28 balls sanga score only 3 runs. I think these days He trying take odi to new level

  • seantells on January 15, 2012, 17:27 GMT

    SL have never got a Captain like Dilshan in the history of SL cricket , and this tour of SAF should be his last.

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