• Proteas not far off – Benkenstein

    Proteas batting coach Dale Benkenstein believes the side need only minor changes to their game plan to beat Sri Lanka in the second Test.

    Despite their poor batting display in the first Test in Galle where the Proteas were bowled out for 126 and 73 (their lowest total since readmission), suffering a 278-run defeat, Benkenstein said there is no panic in the camp.

    He added that only small tweaks are required to the players’ mindsets and game plans in order to effect the desired turnaround.

    ‘It is a combination of both,’ he said on Monday. ‘Technically you have to have faced a spinning ball, there are few things technically that you have to adjust to. I would say 90% 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.

    ‘All the players take responsibility, as well as the coaches,’ he said. ‘I don’t think we are far off, in the little time that I have had with the national team, we have had some poor days because we are off. 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.’

    Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis admitted to his side’s struggle to simulate the Sri Lankan spin trio in their practice sessions.

    ALSO READ: Faf blasts Sri Lanka pitches

    Benkenstein hopes the players will learn from their experiences in the first match, especially the batters who faced Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Lakshan Sandakan for the first time in subcontinent conditions.

    ‘These players have practised very hard,’ he added. ‘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.’

    ALSO READ: Five positives from Galle defeat  

    Photo: Isuru Sameera Peiris/AFP/Gallo Images

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    Khalid Mohidin