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Ken Borland


Proteas may not like the cut of the Hagley Oval’s jib, but they have to adapt

Posted on March 28, 2022 by Ken

The Proteas can be forgiven for not liking the cut of the Hagley Oval’s jib after their humiliation in the first Test against New Zealand, but they have no choice but to adapt and do better when the second Test starts at the same Christchurch venue at midnight on Thursday evening South African time.

Losing an important toss and having to bat first, jetlag, or the effects of 10 days of hard isolation can all be proffered as reasons or excuses for the Proteas’ dismal failure last week, but international cricket, especially these days, is all about adapting to foreign circumstances. South Africa need to find the same resilience they show at home.

“Whoever adapts quicker will get the upper hand,” opening batsman Sarel Erwee said on Wednesday. “It’s not neccessarily the team that wins the toss and bowls first that will have an advantage, the stats show there is not much difference at Hagley Oval.

“We face a lot of tough conditions at home and it’s about adapting to them and making peace with the conditions. Mentally we have gone over our game-plans and processes.

“We need to stick to what we did right and those things that didn’t work, we need to adapt to be better. We mustn’t overthink it, but there were a few mistakes made and we need to put those right.

“It’s not going to get easier and our backs are against the wall. The only way to deal with it is to step forward and try and throw the first punch. I think people will see a different side and energy this Test,” Erwee said.

But taking on the New Zealand attack, even though it will still be without Trent Boult, is an advanced task, not just a simple matter of confidence and energy.

They were magnificent in their discipline, control and skill in the first Test.

“I always knew the intensity would be high and there would be no let-up,” Erwee said of his debut last week, “but the biggest surprise was that the intensity just never went away. It did not seep away, it was there every minute and every ball.”

Notwithstanding all the dropped catches and loose bowling, it is the South African batsmen who are under the most pressure. They need to get in and someone needs to go big. It will require much more discipline and patience in waiting for the Black Caps bowlers to come to them.

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