We only have ourselves to blame, says rueful Du Plessis

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Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella, left, and teammates appeal successfully for the wicket of South Africa's Vernon Philander, second right, during the second day of their first test cricket match in Galle, Sri Lanka, Friday, July 13. The biggest weapon that they had was their consistency.

South Africa's opportunity of achieving the rare distinction of winning consecutive away series in Sri Lanka may already have floated into the Indian Ocean, but they will at least be able to salvage some sort of pride should they manage to turn it all around in Colombo next week. "I think I'm applying my skill and doing well on turning tracks". I think often it was the ball that didn't spin as much as we thought that got us out. "We are expecting big spin on day one".

It represents South Africa's lowest Test score since their re-admission into global cricket in 1992 and their lowest since the 72 they scored against England in 1957.

"We've only got ourselves to blame for that situation", he said. "When we face offspin in the nets, it's a coach trying to bowl offspin at you. It's not even the same quality as a Perera", South African skipper Faf du Plessis said. When Quinton de Kock completely missed the ball to be bowled, South Africa were in deep trouble at 36/6. There were one or two more expansive shots than we would normally play, but the thinking behind the batting was to try and put some pressure back on the bowling, because they don't give you anything.

The International Cricket Council, the world governing body of the sport, discussed the possibility in a meeting in May but made a decision to continue with what has been a ritual since the first Test between Australia and England in 1877.

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"You nearly think it's worse than what it is". He was there the whole time for them in the first innings.

In contrast, after years of mediocre performances in home series - even when in possession of the famed ICC World No 1 golden Test mace - South Africa have transformed the republic into a fortress with series wins over powerhouses like India and Australia recently.

Revenge pitches are part of the game but the team that asks for them knows it will only get a more vengeful surface on its next trip, and that's what South Africa were expecting.

None of their top-order batsmen showed the composure or technique to counter the Sri Lankan spinners.

Hashim Amla was caught at leg slip for a duck in Perera s next over, and Temba Bavuma was caught for two by the same fielder shortly after, reducing South Africa to 24 for 3.