Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Pallekele July 9, 2014

De Villiers bemoans South Africa's inconsistency


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'260-odd was chaseable'

The stark contrats between South Africa's dominance in Colombo on Sunday and the manner in which they were dominated in Pallekele on Wednesday is what frustrated AB de Villiers the most as his team continue their preparations for the 2015 World Cup. For the South African captain, the swing in the margin of results - from winning the first ODI by 108 runs to losing the second by 87 runs - illustrates erratic form that does not bode well for a major tournament.

"It's never nice to win one and then lose one - you look like an inconsistent team," de Villiers said. "We should have got closer. I don't like us to lose not being in the game the last 10 or so overs."

South Africa's chase was all but over after they lost five wickets for 26 runs in the middle of their innings to tumble from 101 for 2 to 127 for 7 in little under nine overs. De Villiers accepted the bulk of the responsibility for the collapse, saying that it was his wicket which triggered it.

From there on, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sachithra Senanayake spun a web around South Africa by exploiting the home conditions which favoured a touch of turn. De Villiers admitted it was a tough wicket to bat on "especially batting second," but said South Africa would not use the surface or the advantage to be gained from batting first as an excuse for their poor performance.

"All three games I've played here, the guys batting second have lost the game but that is not an excuse," he said. "I thought 250 was par. This was just above par but it was still chaseable. We felt if we were there in the 40th over, we'd have a chance of winning it."

After being bowled out in the 39th over, South Africa did not put themselves in a position to take that chance but that does not mean they have squandered all the opportunities they will have on this tour.

Saturday's match in Hambantota is a decider and de Villiers expects "conditions which suit us a lot more".He hoped his team would not disappoint again. "We are under pressure to win that last game," he said. "But we would love to win a series away from home and we are still in the running to do that."

For South Africa to achieve that, they may have to rethink their team composition, especially since Dale Steyn picked up an injury in Pallekele. Steyn confirmed there was no fracture to the his right thumb, but that "he couldn't bend his thumb and index finger so it was impossible for him to bowl". The seamer will receive treatment to determine his availability for the next match.

If Steyn is ruled out, South Africa may have to rethink their combinations but de Villiers said he was not in favour of drastic changes. "You can't plan for injuries in a game. It happens once in a while. I don't think there is anything wrong with our bowling options but we will obviously have a look at our team."

South Africa's options would be to include Wayne Parnell, or to opt for an extra batsman in Faf du Plessis. But that can only happen if Jacques Kallis can pick up some of the slack with the ball. At the moment, that seems unlikely.

Although South Africa have a new set of questions to answer, de Villiers remained upbeat despite his disappointment and concerns over South Africa's inconsistencies.

"The mood in the camp is fantastic," he said. "You can always judge a team's mood by the four guys that are not playing and they have done a fantastic job. I am looking forward to take things forward and trying to win the series."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2014, 18:16 GMT

    Kavum: I agree with all points raised by you except about Mahela. It is true that he has passed his peak and is on the decline with the age catching up with him. However, some of you do not see his utmost importance as a shrewd on field tactician. Surely we can have only one captain. But for a young captain like Angelo who is still feeling his way, having someone like Mahela around is a great asset as well as a relief. In particular at crucial stages of a closely contested ODI where pressure could force him to make bad decisions which may be the difference between win and a loss. Mahela even when he is struggling can find a way to make a sizeable contribution as he demonstrated not only at Pallekalle but also in recently concluded test series in England. That ability comes from experience which is clearly lacking in Thirimanne. Add to that Thirimanne is no where near the class of Mahela.

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    surprisingly AB deviliers did not talk about the outstanding innings of Hashim Amla in two consecutive innings !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jay on July 10, 2014, 10:49 GMT

    God only knows why SA want to use Miller as a pinch hitter when he has shown both for SA and in IPL that he can play a decent innings of 60-80 runs or even more. SA just want his quick 20s and 30s which is not how to use a cricketer no matter what his capabilities.

    To me, its the same old story. SA haven't improved. They still fold under pressure. Batting first when the openers do well, everyone chips in. Chasing under pressure and everyone goes home.

    Were it not for Amla, we would have already conceded the third ODI without playing, coz without him we stand no chance.

    And why doesn't our best batsman come in at 3?

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2014, 10:17 GMT

    @shix Qdk was going well in the first game until he gave his wicket away and he couldn't handle Malinga in the second game. He has scored around 370 runs in his last 5 games and he averages 60 in his last 10 games and you already want him dropped??? You are a hard one to please

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Unfortunately SA need to sit down and realise that you need batsmen to win matches. God only knows what Kallis is doing there, if he's seriously part of their planning for 2015, then their plan is already doomed. How many more chances will Miller be given before they realise he's just not up to international standard. As the ODI teams stands now, you have Amla, de Villiers... and nobody else who you can really bank on to make runs. Duminy is far more likely to get out in single figures than make a big score, and I think it's high time the team give up on their love affair with him too.

  • greig on July 10, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    Dropping Miller and JP should be the first thing SA do. They always fold under any pressure.

  • Deepal on July 10, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    It is nothing like batting first and winning. No matter when you bat, as long as you do it well. What is apparent is both teams will have to have a look on their middle order and lower order batting. Kallis is one of the best all rounders world has ever seen, if not the best. He needs some time to adjust to the conditions, as I shall give him another chance to show his class, if AB won't. Amla... For me, you are the best just ahead of Sanga. What a treat to watch.. SL is due for series of Leather chasing off Amla's bat.. Hambantota - Windy and Hot...No matter who bats first.

    Deepal V

  • Steven on July 10, 2014, 7:20 GMT

    Ok kallis is one of my favourites but his prob is not enough cricket since he only plays white ball cricket I'm sure he is still good enough to play but he needs to commit to playing more cricket so when he plays odis he's not coming in cold so kallis needs to think weather he wants to do that or not cos just being odi player means u don't play as much so rsa and kallis need to sit down and discuss this issue before it effects the team

  • Lloyd on July 10, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    Lets be honest, Kallis is woeful and a liability, De Kok is battling to measure the pitch maybe him drop down the order as we know what he can do . A good start is what is needed to build confidence- ask Amla but the rest were terrible. Thats how to throw a game !

  • Dummy4 on July 10, 2014, 6:13 GMT

    Time fpr Kalls to pack it in? 0 and 1 in the 2 ODIs and not bowling! He is very close to the end if not there already!

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