For South Africa, things went from bad to worse as the Proteas were simply decimated by resurgent Sri Lanka in the second Test at SSC in Colombo by 199 runs.
Entering the second Test on the back of a crushing defeat at Galle earlier, the onus was on the Proteas batsmen – to deliver the goods on the big occasion.
However, a rather miserable Test was endured and barring the exception of young Keshav Maharaj, none of the South Africans had a match worth remembering.
The left-arm spinner’s record-breaking nine-wicket haul went in vain, as the South Africans were once again let down by their batting department.
There was some resistance shown by Theunis de Bruyn in the fourth innings as the right-hander put show some resistance – to put on a fight. His ton in the second innings for South Africa was among the rare positives with the bat for quite a while.
According to skipper Faf du Plessis, who for the first time in his career endured such a drubbing in the subcontinent, blamed the selection.
The South African captain du Plessis admitted that going in with just one spinner, on a track where the opponents fielded three, was a major disaster.
“Looking at the wicket, we definitely would have played an extra spinner. Our thinking was it is an abrasive surface and ball will reverse,” said a dejected Faf.
“There was zero reverse swing. It is a lesson to learn. When we come to sub-continent we need to pick an extra spinner as pitches are very dry. So, It was a mistake on our part not to play an extra spinner,” he added.
Lauding Maharaj for his splendid efforts, Faf du Plessis added, “Keshav Maharaj was exceptional. He put up a record bowling performance for South Africa. He has a good future ahead of him.”
“For Sri Lanka, there wasn’t 6 or 7 batsmen putting runs on the board there were just one or two. That’s what you need. Right through the series, we failed to get partnerships. We only got 3 fifty plus partnerships right through the series and that is very low,” he added.
“The guys played well in the last innings. De Bruyn played an exceptional knock and showed it is possible to get big runs in these conditions. Credit to Sri Lanka, they were outstanding. They beat us in all departments of the game that we played in the last eight days. We have some lessons to learn but we did manage to put in some good performance,” du Plessis stated.