TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
YOU and 10 of your mates would fancy beating Sri Lanka, who crashed to their eighth loss in the 10 games they have played on their tour to South Africa in the fourth one-day international at Newlands on Tuesday.
Does the quality gap that looms between the teams make it difficult for South Africa to accurately measure where they are as a side?
It’s an important question anytime, but particularly considering that in the next 13 months South Africa will play test series against England, India and Australia as well as in the Champions Trophy.
“Yes and no,” Faf du Plessis said after the home side extended to 4-0 their already unassailable lead in the ODI series.
“You have to beat who is in front of you and you have to do it well, and that’s something we have done really well.
“Our skills have been very good right through the series; they’ve been consistent.
“We haven’t taken our foot off the gas.
“It’s easy to rock up and get loose with your gameplan and go out there and play a few unnecessary shots.
“But right through the series our batsmen have been disciplined in the way they want to play, and from a bowling point of view, yes, Sri Lanka are possibly not the best batting line-up in the world but we’re still doing what’s required.”
South Africa did just that on Tuesday, when they posted what seemed an insurmountable 367/5 with Du Plessis’ 185 the star performance.
But the Lankans fought back bravely, taking their reply into the 49th over and banking a hundred of their own – captain and opener Upul Tharanga’s fine 119 – before being dismissed for 327 to go down by 40 runs.
“(Tuesday) was a pressure situation,” Du Plessis said. “We know that they’re very top heavy, that they score runs up front.
“The bowlers possibly didn’t start as well as they would have liked but they came back and under pressure towards the end they did everything right.
“You still need to win these moments.”
Indeed. And they will only get bigger as the next 13 months unfold.
“It’s important that we get pushed,” Du Plessis said. “Especially with a young bowling unit, we want to get those bowlers in some pressurised moments because that’s what big games are all about.
“That’s the difference between winning tournaments and not – the pressure.”
You and 10 of your mates know that only too well.