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Ken Borland



Maketa confident Proteas bowlers will do the business 0

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.

Fast bowler Rabada will likely be fit for Proteas 0

Posted on September 26, 2022 by Ken

Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will likely be fit for the first Test against England starting at Lord’s on Wednesday and coach Mark Boucher is confident his attack will be able to take 20 wickets no matter how aggressively the hosts bat.

Rabada is recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of South Africa’s last three T20 matches, but Boucher struck a positive note about his availability on Monday.

“KG is coming on well, he’s a great athlete, he’s recovered nicely and there’s not too much pain. He’s having a fitness test later this afternoon. He’s a massive player for us and hopefully he pulls through,” Boucher said.

“It was sad to see Duanne Olivier leave the tour with a hip injury, he was very unlucky. But the guys are pretty much in position in terms of our attack and I don’t think we’ll change too much from that.

“We’re in a good space in terms of our bowling and I believe they can take 20 wickets, like we have done it recently against other teams. We’ve got to be adaptable because we don’t know what conditions will be like.

“There’s been a lot of media hype about how aggressively England will bat, and we will try and negate that on the day. You need certain conditions to be able to play that way,” Boucher said.

The Proteas looked sadly ill-equipped in their warm-up match against the England Lions as they were walloped by an innings and 56 runs in Canterbury. The home side belted 672 runs in just 117 overs, but it was very much a second-string South African attack, with only Keshav Maharaj sure to play in the first Test.

More concerning was perhaps the batting, with the Proteas slipping to 129/5 in the first innings and then being bowled out for just 183 in the second.

“We learned how to fetch the ball!,” Boucher wise-cracked. But it was exactly that – a warm-up. We got certain things out of it, although it’s never great to lose. But our focus was on what we needed to do to be ready for the Test.

“We lost to the England Lions in a white-ball match at the start of the tour as well, and those series came out okay. The pitch was pretty flat in Canterbury and it was tough for the bowlers.

“But we were able to spend some time on our feet, so we did achieve something. We had guys coming out of an off-season and they were all a bit rusty, so we’re not too fazed by the result.

“There’s no panic. It’s going to be about handling the situation given to you, having the smarts to do that. Hopefully if we get on top then we can drive that home, or find a way to switch the momentum if they get on top,” Boucher said.

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