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Ken Borland

Maketa confident Proteas bowlers will do the business

Posted on May 17, 2023 by Ken

Proteas interim coach Malibongwe Maketa is confident that his bowlers will do the business and get 20 wickets in the first Test against Australia starting in Brisbane in the early hours of Saturday morning, SA time, and then he will just trust his batsmen to get the required runs.

South Africa have still not decided whether to play six frontline batsmen or seven, and will probably only make a decision once they have seen how much grass is taken off the Gabba pitch by the groundsman. There have been some suggestions that the Proteas should leave out slow left-armer Keshav Maharaj, but the late great Shane Warne described the Gabba as one of the best pitches in the world for bowling spin. Australia’s current No.1 spinner, Nathan Lyon, has a good record there with 42 wickets in 11 Tests at 30.71.

“I do believe we have enough in our attack to take 20 wickets,” Maketa told Australian media on Thursday. “That’s what Test cricket boils down to and I think the ball will play a good role in this series.

“Taking those 20 wickets is most definitely our priority. We have the bowlers to take those 20 wickets, and then we have to back our batsmen to score the runs.

“We’ve been playing on pitches that have been a bit challenging recently, offering all three things – movement through the air, bounce and seam. Here, judging by the nets, there will be more consistent, truer bounce.

“First-innings scores are vital in what are always very competitive games at the Gabba, we need to stay in the contest the whole time,” Maketa said.

The capital of Queensland state is also known as Brisvegas in recognition of the drunken debauchery that often goes down, and there is a cruise company bearing that name on the Brisbane River close to the Gabba. Brisvegans will no doubt be shouting the odds as they enjoy their favourite Spanish Mackerel fish barbecues, about the Proteas batsmen being all at sea.

The Proteas could respond with less palatable comments about sandpaper, but Maketa said on Thursday that bringing up the scandal from the last Test series between the two great rivals, in 2018, could be counter-productive for the tourists.

“We know it was not pleasant what Australia have been through and some players are still paying for those mistakes. But those situations sometimes galvanise a team and opening old wounds would maybe bring them closer together as a unit.

“We have no control over what Australia does, but we will always fight fire with fire, and it doesn’t take much for us to step up against them.

“But our focus is just on how we go about our business and ensuring we execute to the best of our ability from ball one, at a venue where the crowd can feel on top of you and because of their history, Australia are very confident here,” Maketa said.

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