Captain Faf du Plessis outlined the need for improvement in South Africa's performances in Asia after acknowledging it made a tactical error in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

The Proteas lost by 199 runs in Colombo to slip to a 2-0 series defeat, despite Keshav Maharaj taking career-best figures of 9-129 on the opening day.

Du Plessis admitted left-arm spinner Maharaj should have had additional support from another slow bowler, while also declaring the need for his batsmen to be given greater exposure to turning pitches in domestic cricket.

However, he places Australia and England – two other leading nations who have struggled in Test action in the subcontinent - in the same bracket as South Africa.

"Our way of coming to the subcontinent needs to adapt," du Plessis said. "Whether it's playing two or even three spinners, when you come to conditions like this, you give yourself the best opportunity."

"It's a global issue. Whenever a team tours the subcontinent - whether it's Australia or England or us - there's always a question mark on how you play spin. It's a world issue that we're trying to get better at. I don't think we play spin badly, but if you compare yourself to the subcontinent batters, they're obviously a step above us in that regard."

"It has to be a case of looking at how you can get your own home conditions to try to get exposed to these kinds of conditions a little more often when you're playing first-class cricket. That's where the challenge lies for the South Africas and the Englands and the Australias of the world."


Theunis de Bruyn, playing his sixth Test, held up Sri Lanka's victory charge on the fourth morning, hitting a maiden century after being promoted to bat at number three in the order.

Despite succumbing to Rangana Herath shortly after reaching three figures, De Bruyn hopes the innings can help him become an established member of the Test team.

"For me, it does make a difference batting at number three," he said. "I've batted there my whole career, even as a youngster."

"The waiting game when you're batting at six and seven mentally drains you - I don't know, I'm not used to it. But I wanted to do really well batting at three. It's a place I really cherish and I'd like to make it my own one day if I get more opportunities," he said.