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Cricket | SA Team

Morris optimistic ahead of SL tour



The South African cricket team will not take any disappointment from their Champions Trophy experience to their ODI series in Sri Lanka, fast bowler Chris Morris said on Monday.

"We were absolutely gutted to lose in the semifinals of another big tournament and the chokers tag came out straight away.

"But I don't believe that. It's only a choke if you were in a position to win the game and we never were. We were behind the eight-ball already 20 overs in. Everyone forgets how important the toss was, but Sri Lanka were also in trouble batting first the next day on a dodgy pitch.

"So there's no scarring going with us to Sri Lanka and the mood is good."

Morris made his ODI debut for South Africa in the Champions Trophy in England last month. The Proteas had another early exit from an ICC tournament when they were hammered by the host country in the semifinals.

"But it was a bad day at the office against England, who we lost to on a good day for them, so our attitude is 'let's show the world we can play' and hammer Sri Lanka," Morris said in Johannesburg.

The South Africans will play five ODIs and three T20 internationals on the tour of the island nation. The Sri Lankans had won all the previous 50-over series played there.

The only South African win in the 11 ODIs hosted by Sri Lanka was the 124-run triumph in a day/night match at the Khettarama Stadium in Colombo back in September 1993 when the hosts were bundled out for 98.

The conditions in Sri Lanka will be like those in India and Morris, who played for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, said the heat would be a major obstacle.

"Sri Lanka will be bloody hot. Sohail Tanveer, who's from Pakistan, said it will be even hotter than India. And nothing can prepare you for the heat in India. I knew it would be hot, but it was a proper mental test for me. When we played against Pune I took a couple of wickets, but I thought my lungs were going to burst," Morris said.

The 26-year-old also knows the value of slower balls on the dry, low-bouncing pitches they are expecting to play on.

"It's going to be tough but I hope the pitches are similar to India. I've spoken to Dale Steyn and he said I've got to be a lot straighter and the right lengths are valuable too. And I've been working hard on my slower balls. Everyone can bowl the off-cutter slower ball, but it has to be the right length, while I'm also working on the back-of-the-hand and leg-break slower balls. You've got to have variation in your slower balls," Morris said.

South Africa's first match in Sri Lanka is an ODI on July 20 in Colombo.

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