Proteas coach Ottis Gibson admitted his team still has plenty of improving to do ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
But he said the roller-coaster tour of Sri Lanka had given them a better idea of who to select for next year’s showpiece tournament.
Having been thrashed in the two Tests, South Africa won the first three ODIs to claim the 50- over series, but lost the final two games and then the one-off T20.
“I’m frustrated with the way we batted and there’s clearly still so much more to do as a team,” he said.
“Remembering that our focus is on getting ready for the World Cup, we spoke about the style of cricket we wanted to play and that’s the way we played the first three games – with positive intent, to take the game on, move it forward.
“But you still need clear thinking and I would question that in the last three games more than anything, the batsmen did not work out for themselves the relevant shots on the pitch.
“You want to be positive, but you have to make good decisions. The team that makes the best decisions under pressure will perform best … our decision-making was questionable.
“But we probably know 10 spots out of 15 now for the World Cup. We’ve looked at some guys and seen where they are, and there are some issues. But we won the ODI series with a very inexperienced attack and we can say yes to
some players, maybe to others and some are not ready. But I am happy where the side is going.”
The coach said the decision had been made to rest certain players for the entire tour and others in certain matches, even at the risk of losing, in order to serve the bigger picture of the World Cup.
“This tour was not all about winning, otherwise we would have brought Imran Tahir and others along. That would not have given us a strong indicator of where we are and we now have a better chance when we pick the team for the World Cup.
“Chris Morris was not here due to injury and we know what Imran Tahir can do. They are quite likely to come back in.
“We felt Dale Steyn should go back and play more county cricket. David Miller is still very much part of our plans but we had to rest him to see the two all-rounders together; Andile Phehlukwayo has played 30 games now, while Wiaan Mulder has played six.”