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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.

Maketa not laying out red carpets for anyone, but says Bavuma is key 0

Posted on May 09, 2023 by Ken

Proteas interim coach Malibongwe Maketa has stressed that he will not be laying out red carpets for anyone when it comes to selecting the team for the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, starting in the early hours of Saturday morning SA time, but he sees Temba Bavuma as being one of the key batsmen.

Bavuma has endured a rather wretched 2022, injury keeping him out of the Tests in England and then his travails as Proteas T20 captain being well-documented. He did not play any domestic four-day cricket before arriving in Australia, and did not bat in the first innings of the warm-up match against a Cricket Australia XI due to a reoccurrence of elbow problems. But the vice-captain did bat in the second innings and compiled 28 off 92 balls.

“I’m not here to protect anyone and we will make decisions that are best for the team,” Maketa said on Wednesday. “If we have to knuckle down and play with just six batsmen because the pitch will be tough to get 20 wickets on, then we will do that.

“If there’s a lot of grass and the pitch really assists the bowlers, then we will need the extra batsman to give us that magical 400/450. But we have to trust the top-order to get those runs.

“I’m very happy with how Temba is batting. It was nice for him to get in in the second innings, but he has also done a lot of batting volume in the nets since we got here and I am very happy with his progress.

“He hit the ball really nicely in the warm-up game and at practice today at the Gabba, he looked one of our best batsmen. Where he’s at mentally, smiling and confident, bodes well for him being one of our best batsmen going into the series,” Maketa said.

South Africa have the bowling attack to be ruthless, and one Australian batsman who seems to have an ever-tightening oesophagus at the moment is opener David Warner, given how he was the central figure in Australia’s capitulation in their previous Test series against the Proteas and his mediocre recent form, averaging just 23 in nine Tests this year. The events of 2018 seem to be haunting him the most at present.

“What happened in that previous series has not dragged on for us and neither are we focused on what’s happening in the other camp,” Maketa said.

“Our focus is on how to get Warner out, let the ball do the talking and we have got our basic plans. He always brings energy to our contests and I think this series will be no different.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. There’s no talk about sledging, but we will bring a lot of aggression like we usually do,” Maketa said.

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