A Sri Lankan minister slammed the country's cricket team yesterday, blaming poor team spirit for its humiliating 258-run thrashing by South Africa, the island's worst one-day international defeat.

T Dilshan

Government spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said he was "horrified" when Lankans were dismissed for 43 runs in Paarl on Wednesday, their lowest one-day score.

"You can understand a defeat, but not something like this," Rambukwella told reporters in Colombo. "We are appalled. Something has to be done immediately. It looks like there is no team spirit."

Humiliating loss
Rambukwella said the loss was humiliating to cricket-crazy Sri Lankans who won the 1996 World Cup and emerged runners up at the 2011 World Cup. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had blasted the national team even before Wednesday's defeat, saying the side was in "crisis" due to divisive politics among the players.

Since the retirement of bowling star Muttiah Muralitharan in July 2010, Sri Lanka has won only one Test match. Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan has blamed his side's inconsistent results on the island's weak domestic scene. 

"It is very difficult to find good cricketers. We have to correct our domestic structure. Coming from our clubs to international cricket is a huge difference," he said after Test series loss.