TELFORD VICE in Cape Town
NOT only will South Africa not have to worry about Dinesh Chandimal for the second Test, they also won’t need to factor Sri Lanka’s captain into their plans for the first four of the five one-day internationals that will follow the series.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Monday Chandimal, along with Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusingha and manager Asanka Gurusinha, had been banned for both Tests — which they withdrew from voluntarily — and four ODIs on charges of “conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game”.
That follows Sri Lanka’s refusal to take the field at the start of a day’s play in a Test against West Indies in St Lucia last month when they discovered Chandimal had been charged with ball-tampering — leading to play being delayed for two hours.
The Lankans appealled, even though they pled guilty, and Monday’s heavy sanctions were handed down by the ICC after a hearing on Wednesday conducted by an independent judicial commissioner, Michael Beloff (QC).
South Africa had some bad news of their own to digest in the form of Tabraiz Shamsi returning home for what team management said were “family reasons”.
The left-arm wrist spinner’s performance in the first Test in Galle, where he bowled tightly and creatively for his match figures of 4/128, was one of the few highlights for the visitors in a game in which they were dismissed for 126 — then their lowest total in Sri Lanka — and 73 — their worst batting display in the 254 Tests they have played since re-admission. Sri Lanka won by 278 runs before tea on the third day.
Asked if the problem was mental or technical, South Africa batting coach Dale Benkenstein was quoted as saying in a Cricket South Africa release on Monday: “It is a combination of both. Technically you have to have faced a spinning ball; there are few things technically that you have to adjust to.
“I would say 90 percent is about being tough mentally; being used to the ball spinning past the bat.”
“We were weak on that side. When you have had a lot of Test cricket you are ready for the pressures and we were a bit low on that.”
The second Test starts in Colombo on Friday. What will South Africa do to try to level a now, for them, unwinnable series?
“All the players take responsibility, as well as the coaches,” Benkenstein was quoted as saying.
“It is not a big gap. It may seem like it with the result but if we put all the things right we will be on the money in Colombo.”
But don’t expect the South Africans to take to the nets for extra training sessions.
“These players have practised very hard,” Benkenstein was quoted as saying. “I don’t believe practices are going to make a huge amount of difference.
“Mentally there are a few things we have to put right — we have to remind ourselves that we are back in Test match mode; it is tough.
“We have two more days in Colombo to prepare for the next Test.
“It is not the end of the world.”