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Ken Borland

‘A new debut’ for Olivier who was grateful for his fellow pacemen

Posted on February 07, 2022 by Ken

For Duanne Olivier, Monday’s first day of the second Test against India felt like “a new debut” and he gave credit to his fellow pacemen for their efforts in helping to turn a slow start into ultimately a successful opening day for the Proteas as they bowled the tourists out for just 202.

Olivier missed the first Test as he built himself back to peak conditioning following a bout of Covid, but on Monday he was back sharing the new ball with Kagiso Rabada, playing Test cricket for the first time since February 2019, when he took a Kolpak contract in England.

But things did not go well in the first hour for either Olivier, whose first four erratic overs went for 18 runs, or South Africa, as India reached 36/0.

But the drinks break helped the Proteas focus their effort and thereafter they squeezed India and claimed 10 wickets in 49 overs. Olivier and Rabada took three wickets each and young Marco Jansen claimed the other four; Lungi Ngidi bowled as well as any of them but ended with 0/26 in 11 overs.

“It felt like a new debut for me and I was very nervous,” Olivier admitted. “But we just wanted to try and have good energies and put pressure on the batsmen. Lungi and Marco did a superb job to create that pressure.

“And then the whole unit did it. It was a good day for the bowling unit as a whole. We would have taken 202 all out any day. The message from the coach was to stick to the basics and our processes and then reap the rewards.

“Lungi bowled exceptionally well but did not get the rewards, it was just one of those days for him. I am still trying to bowl fuller at good pace, but a couple of balls were too floaty. I will try to do better in the second innings,” Olivier said.

The Proteas batsmen then reached 35/1 at stumps and Olivier is optimistic they can cash in on the second day.

“If we want to be hyper-critical then we probably gave India 20-30 too many runs. The pitch is a bit different to how it is in domestic cricket, there’s not as much grass. It is harder and it will speed up.

“It was very hot today and it will start deteriorating in the second innings and then it might spin. We are 1-0 down, that is the reality, and of course we want to win the series.

“But as a team we can’t look too far ahead, otherwise our focus is not where it needs to be and you can get distracted. Tomorrow is a new day and we will break our processes down into smaller bits,” Olivier said.

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