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Ken Borland



Proteas once again show little discretion with the bat 0

Posted on November 13, 2023 by Ken

The Proteas once again showed little discretion with the bat, losing three wickets in their first session of batting in the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday.

South Africa were 71 for three in their first innings at tea on the fourth day, Australia having declared on 475 for four after rain washed out the entire third day’s play and Saturday morning’s action.

The Australian attack, having five sessions to take 20 wickets to win the Test and claim a 3-0 sweep of the series, as well as assuring themselves of a place in the World Test Championship final, were bang on target from the outset on Saturday.

It made for a torrid time for the Proteas batsmen, especially opener Dean Elgar. The captain scored 15, but most of those runs were off the edge and he lived a charmed life, notably when he edged Josh Hazlewood to Steven Smith at first slip. Smith was diving forward one-handed, but the similarity to the Marnus Labuschagne/Simon Harmer incident on the first day saw third umpire Richard Kettleborough quite rightly disallow the catch because some part of the ball had touched the ground.

But Hazlewood dismissed Elgar four overs later when the left-hander got into a tangle against a well-directed lifter on leg-stump, gloving a catch to the wicketkeeper.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon was introduced in the eighth over and he bowled opener Sarel Erwee for 18 in his sixth over, the left-hander making a terrible error of judgement and shouldering arms to a delivery that went straight on to off-stump.

Excellent use of the short ball again by Australia, this time by captain Pat Cummins, saw the departure of Heinrich Klaasen (2) in the next over, gloving a lifter aimed at his armpit through to the wicketkeeper.

South Africa were staggering on 37 for three, but Temba Bavuma and Khaya Zondo quietly went about the business of ensuring they did not give their wickets away.

At the same time they managed to massage the score with the addition of another 34 runs. Bavuma, used to having rescue the team in a crisis, looked especially calm and landed a couple of mighty sixes off the back foot off Lyon as he went to tea on 28 not out.

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.

Maharaj: Proteas need to ensure such a terrible batting display does not happen again 0

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s top-order produced a terrible batting display in the first T20 against India in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, crashing to nine for five after being sent in to bat, and top-scorer Keshav Maharaj admitted that they had been caught unawares in the powerplay and needed to look at ways of ensuring such a parlous start does not happen again.

The Proteas eventually made it to 106-8 thanks largely to Maharaj’s greatly determined 41 off 35 balls, while there were also rearguard knocks by Aiden Markram (25) and Wayne Parnell (24). But despite a shaky start they saw them reduced to 17-2 in the seventh over, India cruised to victory by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare, thanks to unbeaten half-centuries by Lokesh Rahul and Suryakumar Yadav.

“We don’t want to dwell too much on the match, but there are things we can address and hopefully rectify,” Maharaj said after the awful start to the tour. “We do need to chat about how we started.

“When you are put under pressure like that then it’s very difficult to come back. But we showed some fight and we can build on that. It showed great character to go from nine for five to 106, we made a game of it and there are a lot of positives from that.

“But we need to adjust better against the new ball, they were getting a lot of swing, so we needed a change of plan and mindset. We didn’t expect the ball to swing so much, and the pitch was also two-paced, there was a lot of tennis ball bounce, so it was not easy.

“We need to find a way to combat the swing up front and our application at the top also needs to be looked at. But the ball was swinging prodigiously and we were just trying to get to the 16th over and not get bowled out,” Maharaj said.

Losing five wickets in the powerplay was the difference between the two sides though, as Rahul dug in and Suryakumar scored an inspired 50 not out in 33 balls.

“With five wickets down in the powerplay, you’ve still got to be focused. We wanted to try and get to 16 overs and not get bowed out, and then unfortunately Wayne got out.

“Our seam bowlers also did really well in the powerplay, KG Rabada and Wayne were exceptional. Small moments went India’s way, but they batted exceptionally well.

“It was always going to be very difficult to come back from five wickets down in the powerplay, maybe it was a bit of rustiness on our part. Hopefully we can execute much better and make the second T20 more exciting.

“Conditions were in the bowlers’ favour, but full credit to Deepak Chahar and Arshdeep Singh for landing the ball in the right areas. They had us under pressure in the powerplay,” Maharaj said.

Lack of resilience & poor batting on 1st day why Proteas lost – Elgar 0

Posted on October 14, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar knows as well as anyone that batting first at Old Trafford was not going to be easy, but he expected the batting line-up to show more resilience, saying the poor performance with the bat on the first day was why South Africa lost the second Test against England by an innings and 85 runs on Saturday.

Having selected two frontline spinners in their XI, it was almost inevitable that the Proteas would bat first after they won the toss to allow Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer to bowl on a deteriorating pitch in the fourth innings. But that plan was torn to shreds when South Africa were bundled out for 151 shortly after tea on the first day.

“Obviously the lack of first-innings runs was where the game was lost,” opening batsman Elgar said after the Manchester thumping that sends the series into a decider at The Oval from September 8. “That’s when you stabilise your game and scoring 300+ gives you the best chance of competing. We got half of that.

“We did not bat well. Sure, the ball moved around, but this is Test cricket and you must deal with it. Losing two wickets just before lunch was crucial. If we had been 80/3 then we would have been in a good position.

“But we were five down and then we were always playing catch-up. The pitch deteriorated like we thought it would and there was plenty in it for both seamers and spinners.

“It’s all been a bit of a blur since Day 1, it all happened so quickly after that. England’s batting let them down in the first innings at Lord’s and it happened in this Test as well. You set yourself up nicely if you score runs in the first innings,” Elgar said.

Before what should be an exciting finalé to the tour back in London, Elgar said it was important the Proteas don’t panic despite the horrible loss in the second Test.

“Sometimes you can go into panic mode after a defeat like that, but myself and the coach definitely won’t be doing that. We know we’re not suddenly a bad side.

“I know have a couple of days to process everything, but I won’t change my approach because to do that now would be letting myself down. And I think the players enjoy my honesty.

“Sometimes time away from the game is good, we will do things as a squad though, touch base again, get connected again. We need to pull ourselves towards ourselves and let the dust settle.

“It’s an adult environment and I won’t treat the players like schoolchildren because I know I would not have liked that as a young player. But there are a few tough decisions coming our way,” Elgar said.

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