A hugely disappointed T.M. Dilshan said that he needs more work than words before each and every game. The Sri Lanka skipper crashed into his fourth straight Test series defeat at the hands of South Africa on Friday.
"We talked a lot before the Test match; we have to bowl this perfect line and length, and so on. But it never took place".
"I think we have to be consistent. Our bowling and batting was far from it. That's the main reason why we a lost few series during the last few months," Dilshan said at the post match press conference on Friday.
|Sri Lankan captain Tillakaratne Dilshan sets off for a run during the second day of the third test cricket match against South Africa in Cape Town January 4 2012. REUTERS
South Africa stormed to a ten wicket win at Newlands to seal a 2-1 home series victory after three years.
What Dilshan says was spot on as Sri Lankan bowlers lacked discipline at Newlands.
"That's another reason to fail here", emphasised Dilshan.
"They didn't bowl in one area. They bowled lot of full length and there were a lot of short pitched balls. That’s why South Africans were able to score freely"."But when we went to bat, they bowled a good line and length. They had a plan and their bowlers struck to it. Our bowlers didn't do that," pointed out Dilshan.
However, the opening batsman accepted his weakness as a top order batsman and agreed that there were not enough runs on the board in the first innings. "Even after a few guys good starts, we didn't capitalize to make those into big ones. That's where we went wrong."
"I think, overall, Samaraweera batted really well throughout the series and Angelo tried to comeback with a fight today," said Dilshan.
After winning the Durban Test, there was a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to save the series, or perhaps we could have even won it.
"I think, as a team, we have to take the blame, there is no question about it. We didn't start that well here".
"After winning the Durban Test, everyone came here with lot of confidence but we didn’t start well in this Test match in both departments. We had a good chance to save the series," Dilshan said.
"If you get a good start on this kind of a wicket, you have to convert it to a big score. I got a good start and I would have got 100 or 150 runs. Had I batted little longer, the second day would have been different," lamented Dilshan.
On the second day, Sri Lanka was well on top at 150 for two before Sangakkara's slashing cover drive went into the hands of Hashim Amla at cover point. "He played a good shot but unfortunately, it was straight to cover point. From that moment, onwards the South African bowling unit took charge of the game and dominated us," Dilshan said.
To many, it's a debatable decision - to field first at Newlands - but the skipper doesn't regret his decision. "We took two important breakthroughs. Especially, Amla who has batted really well throughout the series and we took his wicket".
"After that dropped Jacques Kallis, (Welagedara misjudging the direction of the ball and the catch falling few meters ahead of him when Kallis was on 1) that cost 200 runs for us. If we took hold of that catch, at 60 for three, the pressure would have been on the South Africa batting unit," Dilshan said.
Dilshan says that it's easy to analyze after everything has happened.
"No, we didn't bat well; we won the toss and elected to bowl and so on. But, as a captain, I took the right decision. Unfortunately, we didn't take the opportunity to put the pressure on South Africa," he said.
Despite Mahela Jayawardane failing miserably in the series, with only 132 runs in six innings, Dilshan says that the experienced middle order batsman will come to form in the ODI series.
"That's a big issue at the moment".
"He's one of the main batsmen we've got and he's got the experience. Unfortunately, he didn't click in the last few innings. But I feel he can make a comeback in the one day series," Dilshan said. Asked whether Mahela is anywhere closer to getting dropped, Dilshan quickly replied, "I don't think so".
The Sri Lanka skipper is very much concerned about bowlers throwing their wickets away.
"We discussed many times that these two (Thissara Perera and Dhammika Prasad) can bat a bit. Unfortunately they are not taking the responsibility".
"They should show that they can bat but they're throwing away their wicket," said a worried Dilshan.
"We saw how Dale Steyn batted with AB de Villiers (at Durban). He batted really well and we struggled to take that wicket".
"Everything comes through your heart and our bowlers have to have stronger hearts to fight back. Our bowlers should take that as a lesson and contribute with their bats as well".
The skipper also admits that the team cannot go a long way with this kind of attitude and there is lot of cricket ahead of them in the next 12 months.
"They're playing for the country and they have to show the right attitude. We tried to get 100 % from this bowling unit, but failed. It's time now to address this issue and get 100 %. We can't wait any further".
"Everyone is talking about lot of things but still nothing is delivered. That's the main issue", Dilshan said in a much lower voice.
"After Muralitharan retired, everyone thought that we cannot win overseas and we cannot take 20 wickets. But that win in Durban, proved them all wrong.” "That is the biggest positive that we can take back home," Dilshan said. The five match ODI series starts at Parrl on Wednesday.