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South Africa win as Sri Lanka’s batting collapses yet again

Interview with Kumar Sangakkara after the loss to South Africa.

There are remarkable similarities in the two warm up matches played thus far in the T20 World Cup and matches from the Commonwealth Bank Series in Australia played in 2008.

Jayasuriya fails, the other opener follows. The onus is then on Sangakkara and Jayawardena to rescue the ship. And they too fail. What follows is a string of middle order batsman who are fighting for their place in the team.

Take a look at this scorecard. Replace Kapugedera’s half century with the Angelo’s knock today and the 50 over game with a 20 over contest, and you will realise that even after a year, Sri Lanka’s batting has not improved much.

Sri Lanka relies heavily on four batsman to deliver. And more often than not those four don’t take the responsibility on themselves to see Lanka through.

Dilshan and Jayasuriya – it could be said – were unlucky today. In Dilshan’s case the ball appeared to stop off the wicket and in Jayasuriya’s case the ball clearly was going over the top of the stumps. He’ll take those bad calls in his long and illustrious career, but not on a day like today.

Sanath was quick to rub his thigh, as if to say to the umpire, "it was too high". His devastated look when the umpire raised that finger of death, was a clear sign that he is struggling for form and he needed to fire in this match – badly.

"This is the kind of batting performance you draw the line and say well that’s it.. that’s gone.. and not really think about it too much. But try and learn," said Sangakkara at the post match interview. Going by previous such instances it appears Sri Lanka has not learned from similar performances.

Mahela’s reverse sweep was uncalled for when Sri Lanka had lost two quick wickets. It was irresponsible batting even for a warm up match.

The fielding and bowling today was not all there either. Maharoof dropped two chances and continues to have too many "bad days". It’s not a case of the "bad day syndrome". Maharoof is generally the first change bowler, and most teams look to target the first change bowler.

Farveez should be prepared to hit a full length, preferably a Yorker length, when he needs to. You can’t just keep hitting a back of a length on every pitch you bowl on.  The most consistent bowlers are those who can adjust their length according to the batsman and the conditions.

Malinga was lucky to pick up Smith in his first over. Had Smith let the ball go it was certain to be called a Wide. As it turned out, he was caught by 3rd man.

Andrew Miller sums up today’s match brilliantly on Cricinfo’s Match Bulletin

Gibbs was missed twice by Farvez Maharoof in the space of his first ten balls – the first a fizzer at square leg, the second a regulation spoon over extra cover – and then again on 15, when Tillakaratne Dilshan at short cover couldn’t cling onto an inside-out drive.

They were mistakes that Sri Lanka could ill afford, given how poorly they had batted earlier in the day, and though both de Villiers and Gibbs fell with the victory in sight – the latter bowled by the returning Malinga for 48 from 53 – the remaining 10 runs were easily hunted down by JP Duminy and Mark Boucher.

If Sri Lanka is to have any chance of making it to the Semi Finals then Dilshan, Jayasuriya, Sangakkara and Mahela really need to take on the responsibility of seeing the side to a competitive total, or finish a run chase.

If the opener’s role is to take risks, then Mahela and Kumar’s job is not to take risks. Sri Lanka’s top order, namely number three and four, have forgotten their roles in the team.

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