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Batting still a problem for Proteas


Although the Proteas had two-morale boosting victories over Sri Lanka over the weekend it will be a mistake to get too carried away by the two wins.

The good part about the series victory was that it came on the back of a devastating loss in the one-day international series, which was the focal point of the tour.

The players displayed a sense of pride associated with South African sport and fought hard to turn the tour around.

The bowling and fielding won the day for the Proteas. The bowlers did the basics well and kept pressure on the Sri Lankan batsman in both matches.

With the exception of Kumar Sangakarra the Sri Lankan batsmen didn't have the skill or fortitude to deal with the South African pace attack.

The Sri Lankan policy of rotating some of their senior players cost them dearly as well.

One would assume that Sri Lanka are keen to keep their number one ranking in this version of the game intact.

Hence not playing their best team during the first two matches didn't make any sense, particularly when one looks at their home record in terms of chasing runs.

In fact, on the strength of the Sri Lankan performance they may be ranked currently at number one in the world but they are far from the best team. The ranking system doesn't always tell the whole story.

As for the Proteas, batting remains a problem. The top order is far too vulnerable. The loss of early wickets in any format is a major disadvantage.

In the T20 format this problem is magnified by the fact that the initial power play is often key in these matches. Teams losing three wickets or more during the first six overs rarely recover to win matches.

The Proteas are in this unfortunate position far too often, so different options need to be looked at as far as the opening batting position is concerned. I have no doubt that JP Duminy and AB de Villiers should bat at three and four respectively.

The best batsmen should be exposed to the most number of deliveries. David Miller is a good finisher at six and once he recaptures his form Faf du Plessis should slot in at five.

The opportunity is there for two players to establish themselves at the top of the order. Quinton de Kock has been given numerous chances in the team.

Unless he produces the goods tomorrow (on Tuesday) it will be a good idea for him to go back to domestic cricket and develop his game.

He has ability but there are technical issues which are costing him dearly. He also lacks understanding as to how he should construct an innings.

This will come through experience, but consistently throwing him in at the deep end until he has come to terms with his game may be doing him more harm than good.

The jury is out on Henry Davids as well. He needs a convincing score to retain his place in the team.

Hopefully the Proteas will make it a clean sweep tomorrow. They need to go up the T20 rankings - misleading as they may be. Where they are now is far from ideal.


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