Sri Lanka chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has expressed dismay in the batsmen on tour, and called top order to read match situations better in the third Test in Johannesburg. Sri Lanka have failed to reach 300 in their four innings in South Africa so far, and were dismissed for 110 and 224 in the Newlands Test.
"We selected a side which is a blend of youth and experience," Jayasuriya told Sunday Times. "Besides, even the younger ones have had their own share of exposure in the recent past. Maybe we can excuse misreading the game in the first Test because for most of the players it was their first time out in South Africa. But, I can't understand why they failed in the same way in the second Test also.
"I feel that at least one batsman should have risen to occasion and held on to it, but, sadly that did not happen."
Jayasuriya was especially critical of Sri Lanka's failure in the second innings in Port Elizabeth, after the openers had put on 87, and other promising top-order partnerships had begun to take root. The last seven wickets had fallen for 88 runs, however, and Sri Lanka were all out for 281.
"In that innings most of the top-order batsmen failed to come up with a commanding innings in spite of four batsmen getting in to positions that they could have capitalised on," Jayasuriya said. "Now, at least, in the final Test, it's up to the batters to come up with the much-anticipated satisfactory performance."
More had been expected of the batsmen in this series following their encouraging performances against Australia at home, and in Zimbabwe over October and November. This is in contrast to what was expected of the attack, which appeared by a distance Sri Lanka's weaker suit on pitches expected to neutralise Rangana Herath's spin to some extent.
"The same can't be said about the bowlers," Jayasuriya said. "They've bowled with a lot of purpose and never let the totals rise up to unmanageable levels. The batsmen they have let the side down".