Sri Lanka vs. South Africa: 5 Questions Proteas Must Answer Before 3rd ODI
It's crunch time for South Africa in their third and final ODI against Sri Lanka on Saturday.
The Proteas lost the second match by 87 runs thanks largely to a very inept batting performance. Hashim Amla was the standout batsman once again, making it two hundreds in two matches, but the rest of the side left much to be desired.
Despite Sri Lanka losing their last five wickets for just 11 runs, South Africa failed to chase 268 runs.
There are a few questions they need to answer before the third and final ODI and going forward in their World Cup preparation.
1. Where Will the Runs Come From?
Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers are the two batting mainstays of the team, and they have been immense over the last two years.
Other players have chipped in here and there, but on this tour, they have been the sole providers. None of the other batsmen seem to be in form, which is understandable after a winter break.
However, barring Amla, only two players managed to get into double figures and one of them was a tailender. South Africa need to find some runs from somewhere.
2. Should Jacques Kallis Be Given More Time?
Jacques Kallis' recent stats do not make for pretty reading. In his last 20 ODIs, he has scored just 573 runs at an average of 28.7 and a strike-rate of 75.6.
He's not even bowling, either, and eyebrows are being raised about his place in the side. Kallis wants to play in the 2015 World Cup, but with preparation coming thick and fast after this series, is he a feasible option for South Africa in the long run?
Form comes and goes, but class is permanent, and Kallis certainly is classy. He also brings a wealth of experience to the team, but can he get back to his best and is he worth keeping in the plans?
3. When Will David Miller Finally Find Some Consistency?
David Miller made a name for himself on South Africa's domestic scene. He is known for being a superb finisher, but he hasn't quite managed his franchise-level consistency on the international stage just yet.
He has six fifties in 39 innings at a strike-rate of 98.26. While he manages the odd 30 runs here and there, he often fails right after a good knock.
Miller is talented, of that there is no doubt, but his temperament needs some fine-tuning, especially when South Africa are under pressure.
4. Why Can South Africa Not Chase?
South Africa have won just one out of their last six chases in one-day internationals.
Comparatively, they have won seven in a row in the games when they have defended a total and 12 out of 15 overall.
So why can South Africa not chase? While the total against Sri Lanka on this occasion was somewhat tough, it was certainly gettable.
The struggles with chasing down totals is a curious one which has loomed over the Proteas for quite some time. It's something they need to learn how to do. Fast.
5. Is Dale Steyn Worth Risking?
Dale Steyn injured himself while trying to field off his own bowling. He didn't bowl or field after getting knocked, and although he did bat later on, he might be a little bit stiff and sore.
Although his injury is very much superficial, anything that would aggravate it is not worth the risk with a very important Test series coming up.
He will be monitored over the next few days, but if there is even a hint that he might be uncomfortable, he is not worth risking.