The 4-1 margin by which Sri Lanka thrashed South Africa in the recently concluded one-day series was a fair indication of the gulf between the two sides especially in the sub continental conditions. Be it with bat or ball, South Africa came nowhere close to matching the Sri Lankans. The only game South Africa won was because they managed to somehow get their A game together, and possibly even the hosts let their guard down a bit having dominated the series with unusual ease. Otherwise though it was all one-way traffic.
If you look at the batting stats of the series, it is dominated by the Sri Lankans. Kumar Sangakkara smashed 372 runs in five games, averaging 93 with one hundred and two fifties and a strike rate of over 100. Tillakaratne Dilshan on the other hand made 273 runs in five games averaging 68 with one hundred and a 99. In stark contrast, South Africans did not manage a single hundred in the series. JP Duminy was their highest scorer, but he got only 165 runs in five matches, 97 of those runs coming one game, that too in a losing cause.
There were much hopes from skipper AB de Villiers in the absence of Graeme Smith, but he too came unstuck. The captain looked all at sea, managing only 137 runs while averaging under 30 with a highest score of 51. About the rest, the lack of experience under the conditions proved to be their undoing. David Miller ended with 122 runs, 85 of those coming in one game. Hashim Amla played three matches but scored only 95 runs, Alviro Petersen scored 61 in three games, Faf du Plessis 57 in five matches and Quinton de Kock 55 in three.
South Africa’s struggles with the bat reflected in their overall batting performance. While the hosts managed to cross 300 twice in the series, South Africa did not come close even once. In fact their highest total in the series was 238 all out. Sri Lanka also dominated in the bowling department. Ajantha Mendis only played three matches, but ended up as the leading wicket taker with 10 scalps in three games at an average of 12. Mendis utilised the fact that many South Africans had not seen him before to his advantage. Thisara Perera was also impressive, with seven wickets while averaging on 21.
Compare this with the South Africans, and Morne Morkel was their best bowler. He also picked up seven wickets but averaged nearly 34, which was an indication that he wasn’t striking as frequently as the Sri Lankans. Lonwabo Tsotsobe was impressive, grabbing six wickets at 20, but he played only three games so couldn’t make a series defining impact. The other Proteas bowlers simply failed to make a mark. Ryan McLaren, Chris Morris, Robin Peterson and Aaron Phangiso, all were found out under the circumstances. In the end, South Africa were completely outplayed.
--By A Cricket Analyst