Cape Town - South Africa's cricket coach Russell Domingo admitted on Thursday both the top- and middle-order batting, as well as the bowling, were massive areas of concern after the Proteas failed in the one-day international (ODI) series in Sri Lanka.
The team returned to Johannesburg on Thursday having been beaten 4-1 in the ODI series in Sri Lanka. However, a 2-1 triumph in the T20 series lifted their spirits at the end of the tour.
"Obviously we were very disappointed with the ODI series and it has highlighted our shortcomings," Domingo said.
"Firstly, the batting at the top of the order was badly exposed without our usual openers in Hashim Amla, who we did not have for the first three games, and Graeme Smith. The players who came in for them, unfortunately, did not have a big impact.
"The middle-order, and especially playing spin, was also a major problem and the lack of experience there was exposed."
Faf du Plessis, David Miller and Farhaan Behardien were all on their first long tour of Sri Lanka, he said.
"The bowling discipline at the start of the series was also very disappointing, we conceded something like 50 extras in the first three games.
"That's also a massive area of concern and it was unacceptable the way we started.
"Plus there was our inability to strike after the new ball, in overs 15 to 35. The way Kumar Sangakkara played, he was very comfortable in that period of play."
While ODI skipper AB de Villiers suggested "Russell and the selectors will maybe have to look at the squad again and get some fresh energy in", Domingo said he was satisfied the players in Sri Lanka were largely the best available.
"They're not bad players, they were just going through tough times. It's impossible to close the doors completely, but I don't see too many drastic changes unless there's someone like Quinton de Kock smashing the door down in domestic cricket," Domingo said.
"There's a massive difference between facing a franchise bowling attack in Potchefstroom in front of 40 people and playing Lasith Malinga and Sachithra Senanayake in front of 25 000 Sri Lankans," Domingo said.
The rookie coach said the tour had been very encouraging for the T20 squad with their World Cup just eight months away.
Both series had proven highly productive for JP Duminy and Lonwabo Tsotsobe had also learnt a valuable lesson about being properly conditioned for international cricket.
"There were massive concerns over Lonwabo's fitness, form and probably his work ethic and he was not originally in the 15-man squad.
"But after discussions he was added, instead of staying behind and working at the High Performance Centre. He worked really hard on his fitness before winning the game for us in Pallekele.
"In the end, it was the right decision because Lopsy has learnt a lesson."
Domingo felt it was important for Tsotsobe to continue this momentum, after being on a downward spiral. His lagging in fitness showed problems with work ethic but they did not want Tsotsobe to fall out of the system, he said.
"Lonwabo has since been working daily with fitness trainer Greg King and there had been a huge improvement in his fitness results," Domingo said.
"He's a massive asset and he's such an influential player that since his form has dipped, the team's form has dipped as well.
"He offers a lot with his skills with the new ball and his cutters and he's a gun bowler for us."