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Ken Borland

Apart from Warner’s historic double-century, Nortje’s effort with the ball should not be forgotten either 0

Posted on August 14, 2023 by Ken

David Warner’s historic unbeaten double-century in his 100th Test will be what is most remembered from the second day of the second Test between Australia and South Africa at the MCG on Tuesday, but Anrich Nortje’s phenomenal effort with the ball should not be forgotten either.

Although Nortje finished with figures of just one for 50 in 16 overs as Australia piled up 386 for three and Warner retired hurt with severe cramp after scoring 200 off just 254 balls, his fiery, indefatigable fast bowling certainly caught the imagination of the 42 000 people at the MCG.

Nortje strung together some of the fastest overs recorded in Test cricket, consistently exceeding 150km/h for lengthy periods, and his endurance on a sweltering day when the temperature touched 40° was incredible. Even the notorious Bay 13 spectators were charmed by Nortje, who signed many autographs on various items, downed a bottle of water for their entertainment and had his warm-up routine mimicked by the crowd, as they used to do most famously for Australian fast bowler Merv Hughes.

Not even being struck to the ground by spidercam could get Nortje down.

“I was just trying to get a breakthrough, be more aggressive and bring out the pace. I wasn’t bowling as quickly as I can, but I did try to speed it up,” Nortje said after a torrid day’s play for the Proteas.

“Bowling the one over on the first day, I felt I needed to adjust to the wicket, which is a good one. There’s a bit of a slope upwards and my focus was on getting my momentum through the crease rather than jumping up.

“It started clicking and then you can push a bit more when you feel you have the momentum, you just ride it and not try to force anything else. I felt I had good rhythm and just tried to come as hard as I can.

“It’s a good wicket for batting, but if you can hit good areas over time then you can get reward, good bumpers can make the batsmen a bit uncomfortable. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out for us today,” Nortje said.

Warner became just the second batsman after England’s Joe Root to score a double century in his 100th Test, and the veteran left-hander became the eighth Australian to score 8000 Test runs. It was his first Test century in nearly three years.

“He batted really well, hats off to him for the energy and fight he showed,” Nortje said.

Spidercam may be haute couture of TV coverage, but it nearly caused Nortje serious injury 0

Posted on August 14, 2023 by Ken

The spidercam – or the Flying Fox as it is called in Australia – is the haute couture of televised cricket coverage these days, but on Tuesday it nearly caused serious injury to South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Following a high-speed burst of fast bowling after lunch, Nortje was walking in the outfield between overs when the aerial camera, which glides along movable cables, came whizzing up from behind and hit him on his left shoulder and back, knocking him to the ground.

Fortunately South Africa’s most impressive bowler on a torrid second day was able to get up immediately, but he gestured his incredulity at the umpire who had seen the incident.

While it has become the fashion in rugby for the broadcast producers to use camera footage for the benefit of the home team, it would surely be taking things too far, (even for Australians!) to use an expensive, 315kg camera to barrel into players.

While Nortje did not seem too bothered by the incident after the day’s play, he did say players have sounded the warning before about how low the spidercams sometimes travel.

“We’ve spoken before about how low the camera goes for certain interviews. I really don’t think it should be travelling head-high. They need to take Marco Jansen [2.07m tall] into consideration as well,” Nortje said with a smile.

“It knocked my shoulder and elbow and the medical staff will just monitor it. I just saw cables I turned and moved my head, saw the camera and it all happened a little quick. I didn’t really know what had hit me.”

Broadcasters Fox Cricket have made no public mention of the harrowing incident, but a Proteas spokeswoman said they did apologise to the team.

“They put it down to human error and the cam was disabled for the rest of the day. They’ll ensure that measures are put in place for the remainder of the match and series to ensure that it doesn’t get as low as it did today,” Proteas media manager Lucy Davey told The Citizen.

Nortje leads the way with ball, before Proteas fold again with the bat 0

Posted on March 02, 2023 by Ken

Anrich Nortje had it all in synch on the second day of the first Test against the West Indies as he took five wickets.

Anrich Nortje led a superb display with the ball by the Proteas, but South Africa’s top-order then folded again with the bat in a familiar story on the second day of the first Test against the West Indies at Centurion on Wednesday.

The Proteas reached stumps on a desperate 49 for four in their second innings, but with a first-innings lead of 130 their overall position is much more positive, with a lead of 179, six wickets in hand and a pitch that is starting to do the unexpected.

That sizeable first-innings lead was thanks to the excellent work of the bowlers, who dismissed the West Indies for 212, Nortje taking a wonderful five for 36 in 16 overs. Bowling with tremendous fire, but also ruthless control, Nortje spearheaded a dramatic collapse that saw the tourists, looking solid on 169 for three, lost their last seven wickets for 43 runs.

The hottest bowler in the country this season typically said he could not have done it without the help of his fellow bowlers and the support of some vociferous spectators.

“It was nice to have a bit of a crowd at my back, and most of the time something was happening with the ball, with the wind blowing across the right-handers also helping,” Nortje said.

“KG [Rabada] also bowled really well before me and I just tried to capitalise on that and take the momentum further. There was movement and that breeze, and that played into our favour.

“I think the attack did a pretty good job. We just tried to control the run-rate and still try to be attacking. It was nice to see Gerald Coetzee come in too and do his thing. I was very happy for him, he’s bowled lots of overs domestically at high pace and was with us in England and Australia. Charl Langeveldt [bowling coach] helped him a bit with some small tweaks.

“We could all see how happy he was to get his first Test wicket and I’m sure he will have a long career going forward,” Nortje said.

With the West Indies coming in to bat half-an-hour into the morning session, it was Rabada who provided the early pressure. He produced a peach of a delivery, pitching middle-and-off and hitting the top of off-stump to bowl Kraigg Brathwaite for 11. The captain might have saved himself with a better stride with the front foot.

But the West Indies, much like the Proteas on the first day, batted solidly up front. Tagenarine Chanderpaul (22), Raymon Reifer (62) and Jermaine Blackwood (37) saw them to 136 for three at tea.

With much caution against the probing attack on a helpful pitch, the West Indies top-order strung together partnerships of 22, 36, 64 and 47.

But from 3.36pm, when Marco Jansen, who did not seem to have his best rhythm, had Reifer caught behind with his best ball of the day, angling in and then just nipping away from the left-hander; until 4.06pm, when Alzarri Joseph (4) became Nortje’s fourth victim, the Proteas enjoyed a great half-hour. They took five wickets for 21 runs in the space of 28 deliveries.

The next ball after Reifer’s dismissal saw Rabada have Roston Chase (22) caught at first slip and Nortje then removed Josh da Silva (4) and Jason Holder (0) in the same over. The 29-year-old completed his fourth five-wicket haul in 19 Tests when he had Kyle Mayers caught at fine leg, top-edging a hook, for 18.

“Things can happen quickly here,” Nortje said, “you just have to try and do the basics for as long as possible.”

First-innings centurion Aiden Markram made a flying start to the South African second innings, racing to 35 not out off just 33 balls with six fours, but West Indies made inroads at the other end.

Dean Elgar (1) will be furious with himself for once again being caught at third man trying to ramp Joseph, totally unnecessarily, while Tony de Zorzi fell first ball to Kemar Roach and Temba Bavuma also suffered a golden duck, making him just the fourth player to make a pair in his first Test as captain, also being caught behind, off Joseph, who was probably still celebrating his career-best five for 81 in the first innings. The only consolation for De Zorzi and Bavuma was that they were both excellent deliveries, tough to get first up.

A busy day’s cricket – the Proteas had started Wednesday by taking their first innings from 314 for eight to 342 all out – ended with Holder trapping Keegan Petersen lbw for seven with a bit of a grubber that jagged back into the batsman.

Surprise as Elgar does not lean more heavily on Nortje; to batsmen’s delight 0

Posted on October 14, 2022 by Ken

One of the big surprises of the second afternoon when England put themselves in a wonderful position to win the second Test against South Africa through centuries by Ben Stokes and Ben Foakes was that Proteas captain Dean Elgar did not lean more heavily on fast bowler Anrich Nortje at Old Trafford on Friday.

The explosive paceman had claimed three of the wickets to fall as Stokes and Foakes came together on a difficult 147/5, but Nortje had only eight balls against the pair at the start of their partnership before understandably having a break. But much to the batsmen’s delight, he did not reappear for 30 overs, by which time their partnership was already worth 92. The failure to use Nortje in the first 35 minutes after lunch was particularly baffling.

But the 28-year-old said after the second day’s play that he was happy with captain Dean Elgar’s plans and it was simply a great pitch to bat on. South Africa will certainly hope so as they go into the third day 241 runs behind.

“It was a really good wicket to bat on and I don’t think one should look too deeply into who bowled when and from which end,” Nortje said. “It was obviously a much drier pitch compared to Lord’s.

“So we had to go 100% according to the conditions and Dean had a plan according to what the situation told him. I had a decent stint from both sides.

“We had to go according to conditions and sometimes utilise the spinners at both ends. And as the ball got older, it became even harder to bowl. But we bowled our best balls and they batted very well,” Nortje said.

While many onlookers felt Elgar had given Stokes and Foakes early birthday presents by keeping Nortje or even Kagiso Rabada away from them straight after lunch, Nortje praised the duo for their discipline and determination at the crease as they added a match-turning 173 for the sixth wicket.

“When they first came in, that was definitely the key period for the day, that was the major time after we got wickets in the morning. We tried to keep that pressure on, it was the ideal period to try and get some more sticks.

“At the start of the day it felt like there was plenty of opportunity, balls were missing the bat here and there, and we really felt in it. But they absorbed pressure really well, a few things went their way and they turned the momentum,” Nortje said.

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