Geoff Marsh, the new coach of Sri Lanka, has said he learned a lot on Sri Lanka's tour against Pakistan in the UAE and believes those lessons will stand his team in good stead on their tour of South Africa.
"We got ourselves into winning positions, but couldn't get to where we wanted to get," Marsh said on the eve of the team's departure to South Africa. "I learnt a lot on my first tour. Obviously a different culture than to coaching Australia and Zimbabwe.
"When you come back from a tour like Pakistan, I think everyone wants to make sure we are all on the same page. Captain [Tillakaratne] Dilshan and I get on very well. We work very closely together and we all can get better on this tour."
Sri Lanka have not won a Test since Muttiah Muralitharan retired in July 2010, and have lost their last three Test series by 1-0 margins to England, Australia and Pakistan. They also lost the ODI and Twenty20 series to Pakistan.
"I am hoping that the disappointment of the last few tours as a playing group we will enable to lift ourselves," Marsh said. "It's a challenge. We have got world class players and we need them to click. The younger players will need to play some big knocks against such an attack."
Marsh said his team could do well on their tour of South Africa if they can just put up enough runs on the board.
"It's a tough tour but I firmly believe that if we play well, we can do well," Marsh said on the eve of the team's departure to South Africa. "The key is scoring enough runs against that good attack. If you take Australia they were bowled out for 47 in the first Test and they got up from the dead and did well. It can be done.
"We have to lift ourselves obviously and some players need some runs. If we give the bowlers some runs then it will be an interesting battle."
Sri Lanka commence a three-Test series against South Africa at Centurion on December 15.