Despite South Africa getting humbled by spin in the last three white-ball games on the tour, left-hand batsman JP Duminy is happy that the Proteas were able to win the first three ODIs and is impressed by some of the signs of progress that he saw.
South Africa, either side of winning those three games and nailing down the ODI series, were brutally exposed by spin during the Test series, which they lost 2-0, and in the final two 50-overs matches as well as the lone T20I game but Duminy believes that the side has learnt a lot from the experience and is building very well towards the ICC Cricket World Cup next year.
"I don't think we're walking away from Sri Lanka with negativity, I think there's a lot of positives. I've certainly experienced many tours of the subcontinent when you walk away with your head in your hands not knowing where your next run or next wicket is going to come from." said Duminy, having led the visitors in their defeat in the T20 International, and added, "Yes there's disappointment about the Test series, but from a one-day perspective, we've taken huge strides in my opinion. I'm excited by the brand of cricket we're trying to adopt. I believe we can only get better."
In what comes as a high praise, Duminy specifically appreciated the performance of left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and said, "Tabraiz is an exciting prospect for South African cricket and he's a wicket-taker, If you look at Imran Tahir who's been a match-winner for us for many years, to have another one coming through now, it's fantastic. Even Keshav Maharaj has been a match-winner for South Africa. That's exciting to see for our spin department. Spin coach Claude Henderson has played a big role in that, working with the spinners. It's exciting to see them put their hands up in these conditions."
"The opportunity to pick both (Shamsi and Tahir) of them is exciting. If you have conditions similar to Sri Lanka, or even English conditions - that's where the World Cup is going to be - that's a good option to have, if you know that the opposition doesn't necessarily play spin well. It's definitely a great feather in our cap." he further added.
Having seen his struggle against the spin in the subcontinent yet again, head coach Ottis Gibson talked about the need to be positive for batsmen in such conditions.
He pointed out, "It is defined, we want to be positive. But we still have to be making decisions. The teams and the players that make the best decisions under pressure are the ones that perform better. The decision of some of our players are questionable," and added, "When the ball is spinning, some guys play spin well, some guys don't. But I still liked the fact that we tried to score runs. My thing is, if you are defending, you're still not scoring runs. So you have to try and score."
"It's a concern when people gone into a shell. In the first three games, we scored runs. Akila went for runs, because we were positive. We had better decision making. We swept and we scored. I don't want the guys to go in a shell and look to defend. I still want the guys to go and score. In the first three games, when we looked to score, he got wickets, but we still scored. In the last couple of games, where we tried to defend, it was a different story." Gibson concluded.
(Inputs from Cricbuzz)