TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
PAUL Harris called it, and he did so before the third one-day international between South Africa and Sri Lanka – or while the series was still alive.
“It’s a bit boring because these Sri Lankans are rubbish,” the former slow left-armer said.
“They just don’t cut it in these conditions.
“Their best player at the moment is rain.”
Harris wasn’t wrong, although he would admit it did not take genius to arrive at his conclusion.
The Sri Lankans have been poor in all departments in South Africa, and abjectly poor in their batting.
South Africa clinched the ODI series at the earliest opportunity and they have the chance to complete a 5-0 whitewash in the last match of the rubber at Centurion on Friday.
The home side also won the test series 3-0, although the Lankans will go home with the sop of the T20s, in which they edged South Africa 2-1, in their luggage.
South Africa have had a comprehensively successful first half of 2016-17 and have put plenty of daylight between this season and 2015-16 – when they lost five of the eight tests they played.
Now for the hard part.
On Saturday, the South Africans will embark on a tour of New Zealand that starts with a T20 in Auckland next Friday before moving on to five one-day internationals and three tests.
Of the 11 matches they have played across all formats since Boxing Day, New Zealand have won 10 with the other abandoned without a ball bowled because of an outfield that was deemed dangerous.
Eight of New Zealand’s successes in those games have been against visiting Bangladesh – a lesser challenge for the Kiwis than even South Africa’s against the lacklustre Lankans.
But Australia were their opponents in three ODIs, New Zealand’s most recent engagement.
One was the abandoned game, in Napier, but there was no stopping the New Zealanders in the other two matches.
In Auckland, not even an unbeaten 146 by Michael Stoinis, batting at No. 7, could rescue an Australian side that had crashed to 67/6 inside 19 overs from being beaten by six runs.
In Hamilton, Ross Taylor scored 107 and Trent Boult took 6/33 to steer New Zealand to victory by 24 runs.
Those results won’t shock South Africans who watched their team smash the Aussies 5-0 in an ODI series in October.
But they do tell us that when South Africa touch down in Auckland they won’t be in Kansas anymore.
Instead, the business end of the southern summer will be upon them.