Stern talk stung Proteas into cruising towards series whitewash

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Lutho Sipamla ended his debut Test series with 10 wickets (AFP)
Lutho Sipamla ended his debut Test series with 10 wickets (AFP)
  • A stern team talk inspired the Proteas to pull up their socks after a lacklustre second day to stroll to a Test series whitewash of Sri Lanka.
  • Head coach Mark Boucher was encouraged by South Africa's inexperienced attack absorbing and applying lessons fairly quickly.
  • He admits that while his troops take confidence into the series against Pakistan, some tweaks will still be required before then.

A stern team talk proved instrumental to the Proteas rediscovering the sort of purposefulness that saw them wrap up the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers within three days and by 10 wickets on Tuesday.

It was a scenario that seemed less likely at the end of the second day's play, where a nasty batting collapse and some listless bowling allowed the visitors to play themselves back into the game.

But once Dimuth Karunaratne, Sri Lanka's captain and batting hero, was dismissed near the end of the first hour on day three, South Africa cruised again with Lungi Ngidi (4/44) and Lutho Sipamla (3/40) leading the charge.

SCORECARD | Proteas cruise to series whitewash over Sri Lanka

"We bowled well in the first innings, but I thought we let it slip a bit in Sri Lanka's second effort initially," Mark Boucher, the Proteas' head coach, said at the conclusion of the match.

"Yet I was really pleased with how the bowlers responded to a few, I wouldn't say harsh words that were needed. (Tuesday) morning was really good and led to some individual performances that we were really happy about as well."

For a seam attack that - in the absence of Kagiso Rabada - still only boasts 20 Tests between its members, the output from the series was indeed encouraging.

While Anrich Nortje, the most experienced quick with a still meagre eight caps to his name, finished as the leading scalper with 11, it was notable that rookies Sipamla and all-rounder Wiaan Mulder finished with excellent harvests of 10 and 9 wickets respectively.

"If you look at our bowling attack, there are a handful of games between them, so we understand that there's a lot of inexperience there, especially without KG (Rabada)," said Boucher.

"But they learnt a lot of lessons and they learnt them pretty quickly as well. It's a group of individuals that is growing and as long as they are growing, we're happy."

Along with a more grizzled batting order that delivered important runs sporadically, South Africa at least possessed the building blocks to provide for a decent challenge in Pakistan later this month.

"We'll take this momentum and take a bit of confidence. We understand that there are a few changes that we'll need to make, particularly technique wise, in Pakistan. But we certainly take confidence," said Boucher.  

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