Ottis Gibson says he was frustrated with the Proteas’ batting performance in the last two ODIs and the one-off T20I against Sri Lanka.
After a great start to the limited-overs format, taking an unassailable 3-0 lead, the Proteas lost the last two ODIs and the one-off T20I comprehensively.
It was not the results in the final two games that were uninspiring, but rather the batting display. They were reduced to 187-9 in the fourth ODI, 121 in the fifth ODI and 98 in the T20I.
‘Frustration in the way that we batted,’ said Gibson about his feelings after the three-wicket defeat in the T20I in Colombo.
‘But then we look at the way we went out to try and defend a small total and you feel like there is still so much more we can do as a team. But we can’t get away from the fact that the batting was frustrating.
‘The way we played in the first three games of the ODI series [was good]. We sat down, remembering that our focus for the last six/eight months since I’ve been involved has been trying to get ready for the World Cup.
‘We spoke about the style of play that we wanted. We chatted about being positive and [having] positive intent by taking the game on and taking the game forward.
‘But within that comes player thinking in terms of guys working out for themselves what shots are relevant on the pitch, and so on.’
The T20I, in particular, was abysmal as an experienced batting lineup – excluding Quinton de Kock (20) – Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and David Miller all scored below 20, as the Proteas posted their lowest total in a T20I history.
‘T20 cricket nowadays all around the world [is about] nice flat wickets and bat dominates ball. But this [pitch] spun from the first or second over, so it was not a normal T20 wicket but you still have to adapt and play on it and we didn’t bat well enough on it.’
Gibson expressed his concern at the way his side adapted their approach to the unexpected turning wicket.
‘It’s a concern when people go back into themselves. The same spinners bowled in the first three games that we won,’ Gibson insisted. ‘Akila [Dananjaya] got wickets but we took a lot of runs off him because we were positive in our decision making and we swept and scored.
‘What I don’t want is people to go back into themselves and try to defend, I still want people to look to score. In the first three games when we did that, he still got a few wickets, but we scored runs off him. The last couple of games when we tried to defend is a different story.’
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images