Home loss to Sri Lanka a massive dent in confidence: du Plessis

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has said that the two-nil series defeat at home to Sri Lanka is a “massive dent” in their self-confidence, for they normally play very well at home. The fact that no team from Asia ever won a series in South Africa, and that only England and Australia had series wins here, puts the magnitude of Sri Lanka’s victory into perspective.
“Massive dent,” du Plessis said of the loss in Port Elizabeth. “I thought up until this Test series we were looking good and playing well at home, but the last two Test matches, I wish I can give you an answer but we prepared the way we do and we didn’t take them for granted. Maybe, mentally the boys were off the boil at the end of a long season, but that’s not an excuse once again. It’s probably up there with the most disappointing series loss, certainly from my own personal point of view and also from a team perspective.”
After Kusal Perera had shepherded Sri Lanka to one of the greatest wins in Durban, du Plessis had talked about how that venue always has a five-wicket haul for spinners and how Port Elizabeth will have more sideways movement, bringing their strengths into play. 31 wickets fell on the first couple of days but du Plessis doesn’t feel that an extra spicy pitch might have played into Sri Lanka’s hands.
“I would see that as an excuse if anyone in the team used that,” he said. “Certainly, that’s not the language I’ve heard in the dressing room. Whatever happened in the past has absolutely no bearing on the Test match you are playing. Everywhere you go as a batter, you need to adapt your mindset and score runs on whatever you see in front of you on the day. So, for me that’s an absolute no-no.
“This was a very good pitch and I think both teams throughout this series have batted poorly. Today was the first time two guys put a partnership together and made it look easy. When I was batting in both innings, I felt it was a really good batting pitch and like I said both teams did not put on the runs like they should have. I can’t tell you why – 30 wickets fell in two days on a wicket where you should be scoring a lot more runs. Mentally, we were a bit soft in giving our wickets away and cricket is about fighting it out and grinding it out.
“Bowlers have to earn your wicket and for most of the series all of our batters gave away their wickets pretty easily. There are no fingers to be pointed at the wicket. They bowled well but the biggest disappointment lies with the team –