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Ken Borland

Contact points and bat angles poor as SA batting folds against English accuracy and skill

Posted on October 25, 2022 by Ken

Proteas batting coach Justin Sammons admitted that their contact points and bat-angles could have been better, but he said their dismal batting effort on the third day of the third Test against England at The Oval was mostly due to the accuracy and skill of the English bowlers.

Having lost the toss on the first morning shortly before rain washed out the whole first day’s play and then the second day was cancelled to honour the life and passing of Queen Elizabeth II, South Africa had to bat on an overcast morning and try to counter movement both off the pitch and through the air on Saturday morning.

And England’s pace bowlers, especially Ollie Robinson (14-3-49-5) and Stuart Broad (12.2-1-41-4) exploited the conditions superbly as they bundled the Proteas out for just 118 in 36.2 overs.

“The reality is you have to give credit to the opposition, they bowled really, really well. They bowled in the right area 80% of the time and they consistently asked us questions,” Sammons said.

“Our contact points and bat angles could have been better and that would have given us a better chance, but we might still have nicked the ball anyway.

“We did not give away our wickets through mental errors, it was all about execution and they were better than us today. We need to be decisive in our decision-making and our movements.

“We’ve been missing partnerships, that big one of a hundred-plus that you need. But to do that you need individuals to make their innings count, and unfortunately we haven’t done that,” Sammons admitted.

Contact points refer to where the bat makes contact with the ball, in terms of how far in front of the batsman’s head it is.

England will go into the penultimate day on 154/7, leading by 36. South Africa will be grateful to 22-year-old Marco Jansen, not only for his runs as he top-scored with 30 to lift the Proteas from a parlous 36/6, but also for the four wickets he took with fantastic left-arm swing bowling that pegged the home team back after they had made a flying start to their innings, reaching 84/2 at tea.

“Marco has had a very good game so far. He batted very well in a difficult situation, he showed maturity beyond his years. He has worked really hard on his batting and it was good to see the results today,” Sammons said.

The former Highveld Lions batting coach said his charges will only be better for their tough experiences at The Oval on Saturday.

“These have been extraordinary circumstances, but they will only get stronger for having experiences like these. Of the top eight, only one [Dean Elgar] has played Test cricket in England before.

“So we are inexperienced, but hopefully we reap the rewards of these experiences sooner rather than later. With the ball nipping around, it was not easy, especially with Robinson bowling superb lengths.

“Test cricket is a massive step up and it will be for any first-class batsman anywhere in the world. We have owned that we have not been good enough and I’m confident that sooner rather than later we will reap the rewards for a lot of hard work going on behind the scenes,” Sammons said.

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