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Ken Borland


SA batsmen yet again fail to do the business

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Ken

South Africa’s batsmen yet again failed to do the business as they were bowled out for just 204 to lose the second Test against Australia by a massive innings and 182 runs and with it the series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.

The Proteas barely survived to the final session as a depleted Australian attack wrapped up their second innings in 68.5 overs, one ball longer than their dismal first innings, left-arm quick Mitchell Starc setting the tone as he bowled through the pain of a dislocated finger. It was only some lusty blows at the end of the innings by Lungi Ngidi (19) and a last-wicket stand of 27 with Anrich Nortje (8*) that ended the desperate run of seven successive totals of less than 200.

Temba Bavuma was the one South African batsman to build an innings, scoring 65 in 201 minutes off 144 balls, but he was also complicit in two disastrous run outs which epitomised the slapdash nature of their performances in Australia.

Having lost overnight batsmen Sarel Erwee, trapped lbw for 21 by a searing Starc yorker, and Theunis de Bruyn (28), who was well-taken by Steve Smith at first slip after Scott Boland found the shoulder of his bat with some steepling bounce, South Africa plunged to 65 for four before lunch with the run out of Khaya Zondo for just a single.

Bavuma pushed Pat Cummins straight to cover and ran, with Zondo ball-watching at the non-striker’s end and well-beaten by Travis Head’s direct hit.

The second run out was just as farcical as Bavuma left Keshav Maharaj (13) stranded halfway down the pitch on a third run, Starc collecting the boundary throw from Marnus Labuschagne and throwing down the stumps at the wicketkeeper’s end.

Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne were the brokers of some respite for the Proteas as they added 63 for the fifth wicket. But Boland broke the stand in the third over after lunch as Verreynne (33) erred in playing across the line of an in-ducker and was trapped lbw.

Bavuma eventually lost concentration and was caught off a wild slog-sweep against off-spinner Nathan Lyon, so his wait for a second Test century continues, but he had batted with great determination and played some fine strokes mixed with solid defence.

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