That has never been Domingo’s modus operandi though. Instead, he prefers a pragmatic approach because “it’s not about me” and is equally aware that despite the history-making series win over Australia here, there remains plenty of work ahead for the Proteas if they are to challenge for that No 1 Test ranking again.
The pink ball Test may have been a dead-rubber, but the seven-wicket defeat at the Adelaide Oval illustrated the fragility of the batting unit especially. Captain AB de Villiers’s expected return for the Sri Lanka series will be huge fillip for the home summer, but from the opening combination of Dean Elgar and Stephen Cook right through until the middle order there remains unanswered questions.
Elgar and Cook both scored centuries in this past series, with the former starting the series with a bang but finishing with a whimper. Equally Cook struggled for form at the outset, but rewarded the selectors faith with a second Test ton here in Adelaide. Due to this both batsmen averaged in the mid-30s.
Equally JP Duminy (36.80) and Temba Bavuma (32.40) averaged in the 30’s even though both made solid contributions at some point or the other with Duminy’s century at the WACA being a particular highlight. Add in master batsman Hashim Amla’s woeful tour – he averaged below 20 - and it is clear that the Proteas were heavily dependent on wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock to bail them out at various times. De Kock averaged 56.20 due to a century and two fifties in the series.
“There are still some question marks and areas that we can improve on. A great deal of work lies ahead. We have improved over the last couple of months, we’ve got players back, but there is still plenty of room for improvement,” Domingo said.
“Consistency (is something to work on). We haven’t had players in a consistent run of form. Probably the only guy has been Quinny, who has contributed almost every single game the last couple of months. Other guys have sporadically performed, so finding consistency in our batting unit something we are working towards.”
Domingo has less such concerns over his bowling attack, especially due to the return to fitness of opening bowler Vernon Philander. Not only has Philander been back on the park again, but he’s also bang in form with both bat and ball. A fit-and-firing Philander certainly added a great deal of balance to the Proteas side.
“Vern is back. I think that’s they key. Very difficult to replace players like Dale (Steyn) and Vern. Good to have some players back in form,” Domingo said.
The Man of the Series was certainly happy to be back and part of a potent bowling unit that will certainly trouble the Sri Lankan batsmen in home conditions too.
"Our attack now covers all bases and the guys have stepped up really well," Philander said. "With myself and Kyle Abbott upfront, we have seam and swing and then we have KG [Rabada] with a bit of pace. It's wonderful to have all those varieties available to you but then it's also up to the captain to see how to use it."
It is likely then that it will once again be the batsmen that will need to front up when Angelo Mathews’ Sri Lankans arrive in South Africa. Although the Asian nation have yet to win a series in the republic, their improvement on their last trip when they won their first-ever Test in South Africa at Kingsmead in 2011 reflects the danger ahead. They also trounced the Aussies 3-0 at home recently.
Although the visitors will not return to their happy hunting ground in Durban, Domingo does believe the other venues where the Test matches will be held should ensure the Proteas keep their guard up.
“We know we faced with a tough series against Sri Lanka at two coastal wickets which bring them very much into the competition. We play them at Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and one in Johannesburg, where those wickets might suit their attack and we’ve got a lot of work still to do,” the coach explained.
Independent Media“There are still some question marks and areas that we can improve on. A great deal of work lies ahead.”
Original source: We’ve got a lot of work still to do - Domingo