Sri Lanka v South Africa, 3rd ODI, Hambantota

Duminy keen to dispel spin demons

Firdose Moonda

July 11, 2014

Comments: 6 | Text size: A | A
'Have to nullify Malinga, Dilshan'

Squandering a 1-0 advantage, the spotlight on batsmen to step up against spin, and the likely return of their pace spearhead are exactly what South Africa wanted ahead of their series decider against Sri Lanka. Yes, all three of those things, even though only the last one seems to make sense.

Dale Steyn was forced to leave the field with a thumb injury after bowling only 2.2 overs on Wednesday and suffered severe bruising but no fracture. His recovery has galloped along and by Friday evening, South Africa were more than just hopeful he would be fit for the next match; they all but said they were certain he will be.

Even though Ryan McLaren did an exceptional job as a death bowler with four wickets in his final two overs, having Steyn back will be a boost to South Africa's attack, especially because there is still no clarity on when Jacques Kallis will be able to bowl except that it will not be soon.

The other two factors mentioned earlier, meanwhile, will test South Africa's resilience and resolve, both of which were lacking in Pallekele.

Only Hashim Amla managed a score over 30; the rest of the batsmen's application was woeful. Quinton de Kock was foxed by a round the wicket angle and Kallis was bounced out but most notably, the six batsman from No. 4 to No. 9 were victims of spin, confirming South Africa's soft underbelly is still troubled by turn.


JP Duminy edged behind for 1, Sri Lanka v South Africa, 2nd ODI, Pallekele, July 9, 2014
JP Duminy: 'It came down to bad shot selection. I am a case in point' © Associated Press
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JP Duminy is one of the players who rejects that assertion and wants to use the final ODI to prove it. "It came down to bad shot selection. I am a case in point," he said. Duminy was caught behind as he chased an offbreak, a ball he could have left alone - which may be why he blamed his own judgment and not the art of spin for his dismissal.

Similarly, AB de Villiers, David Miller and Ryan McLaren were all caught in the field after being lured forward by flight. In the lead-up to Saturday's game, Duminy reiterated that the batsmen were to blame for the defeat. "As batters we take full responsibility for those soft dismissals. We want to get it right in the next game. We will prepare well to give ourselves a good chance."

Some of South Africa's preliminary work for the must-win match would have focused on the Hambantota surface, which is expected to suit them more than the one in Pallekele. "The nice thing about this ground is that we've had some good success here," Duminy said. South Africa have won three of the four matches they've played at the ground, albeit 20-over games which included one against Zimbabwe, and the history will give them confidence.

Kallis was not part of that history though and his concern will be the more immediate past. With only one run in the series and no other contribution to speak of, pressure is mounting for him to perform and Duminy thinks he will. "Jacques is a formidable player. He has done it for years. We have all been in difficult situations over the years but I wouldn't call it bad form, it has only been two games. I am sure he is hungry to do well for the team."

Coach Russell Domingo has also given Kallis his backing but explained the wait on him to start bowling cannot continue for much longer. "For us it's a matter of time before he makes an impact with the bat," Domingo said. "Jacques is good enough to play as a specialist batter, but we need him to bowl for us as well. He has a few niggles in his back at the moment, so we won't risk him bowling now, because that will affect his batting."

South Africa are convinced Kallis' efforts with the willow will only get better and they may need that to happen overnight, literally, if they hope to win a first-ever ODI series in Sri Lanka. After their resounding win in the first match, it seemed they would have a good chance of that but the opposite result in the second game has raised questions.

While AB de Villiers bemoaned South Africa's inconsistency, Duminy explained why it is not such a bad thing. "There's pressure on both teams. It's a bit of a final for us," he said. "It's important for us being exposed to these situations. We are going to be playing a lot of one-day games leading up to the World Cup, so the more we get put in these situations, the better it will be for us. Come the World Cup, we will be in a good space in terms of being put in different situations and if we are confronted with these situations in the World Cup, we will know what to do."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (July 12, 2014, 4:42 GMT)

Lookin for a great game !

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 12, 2014, 4:13 GMT)

P.S. I forgot to mention that Kallis was also given the Player of the Match award after the match against Zimbabwe at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota on 20 September, 2012.. History clearly shows us that!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 12, 2014, 4:04 GMT)

The above article states "South Africa have won three of the four matches they've played at the ground, albeit 20-over games which included one against Zimbabwe, and the history will give them confidence. Kallis was not part of that history though …"

Really? How puzzling! If he was not part of that history, how did Kallis take 4 wickets for 15 runs against Zimbabwe on 20 September, 2012, in T20I no. 266, played at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Sooriyawewa, Hambantota?

This match scorecard might clear up the mystery of the history! Take a look: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/533275.html

Posted by Sexysteven on (July 12, 2014, 3:56 GMT)

Rsa are interesting team they have the talent to do much better specially in world cups I wouldn't complain if they do win the cricket World Cup next year Infact I hope they do instead of the usual suspects winning it they have adecent team adequate spinner world class pace bowlers and talented batsmen it's time to see them perform and dominate I think this third odi should be good and so to the tests but why only two tests should be aminimum of three tests in my opinion to good teams playing very interesting to see what happens it doesn't bother who wins both are likeable teams to me let's hope for good cricket and better pitches then the one at trentbridge

Posted by Kavum on (July 12, 2014, 3:12 GMT)

Go Brazil. My bet is a 3-1 win over Netherlands. On the other game in Hambantota, chasing in the afternoon is going to be a challenge as the wind is crazy creating mini tornadoes of dust and sand. So is defending a smallish total as the bowlers need to be spot on to use the conditions. Its also quite warm but not as humid as Colombo. SL do not have all that much experience at the ground so I think SAf are in with a very good chance. That said, good luck to the teams and hope they entertain - but SL must win. As must the Samba Boys - Goooooo Brazillll!

Posted by   on (July 11, 2014, 17:54 GMT)

3 games are too few.. if SA win joke will be on us..

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