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Ken Borland



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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