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Ken Borland

Time for the Proteas to be impertinent guests (belatedly)

Posted on September 26, 2023 by Ken

The time has come for the Proteas to belatedly be impertinent guests and produce some much-needed defiance when the third and final Test against Australia starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the early hours of Wednesday morning (SA time).

The series is gone after the Australians ran roughshod over the Proteas in Brisbane and Melbourne but, astonishingly given how poor their recent form has been, South Africa are still in contention for a place in the World Test Championship final. But victory in Sydney is vital, not just to keep that door open, but also to arrest what has been a humiliating slide in the performance of their batsmen.

While a return to the nastiness of the 2018 series is not wanted, there is a feeling that the Proteas have been too nice, a bit too soft, with their opposition and it is time they stood up and refused to be bullied.

It took one of the youngest players in the squad, 22-year-old Marco Jansen, to voice the necessity for the Proteas to show some mongrel.

“We know everyone is giving their best, but we all need to try and figure out what we can do as an individual for the betterment of the team,” Jansen said on Monday.

“You’re not always going to get hundred partnerships or two batsmen getting centuries so you score more than 500 and win; sometimes it might be about taking five blows to the body or bowling seven consecutive overs.

“Whatever you can do as an individual, sometimes a 70-run partnership can be the matchwinning one. We need to try and recognise those small moments that all add up and can make a big difference.

“We have the skill. It’s just about making a mental shift, a conscious decision to put your hand up and do whatever it takes to influence the team in a positive way,” Jansen said.

A confident Australian team spares nobody and South Africa need to show the same ruthlessness.

“We need to try and see those moments when the opposition is not comfortable, not shy away, and go even harder,” Jansen added. “We have no choice now, we have to take a difficult situation and turn it into a positive.

“We can choose either to run away or front up, which gives you the best chance of performing. It has not been easy on the field, but we will definitely face the challenge.

“We have three Tests until the World Test Championship final and we want to win all three to have the best chance of qualifying.

“So we are not just thinking this is another game and we can just cruise through. There is still a big goal and purpose for us,” Jansen said.

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