Time to Step Up Proteas!!
November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized
Even though Siddle & Co. huffed & puffed with all their might till the very last ball, they just couldn’t get past their opponents’ resilience & fight lead by debutant hero Faf du Plessis.
Honourable mentions should go to AB & Kallis for hanging in there with the Titans batsman & kudos to Rory & Morkel for providing much needed stubbornness in those last 10 pressurized overs. So instead of being 1-0 down in the series with the 3rd & final test match coming up, the series is still drawn meaning we can still win it but unfortunately, so can Australia.
Just like during the last day & a half in the 1st test match, this was their game to lose & I for one was a bit surprised when the ever-attacking Oz captain Michael Clarke gave us so many runs to get. Didn’t he have enough faith in his bowlers to bowl us out under say, 300 – 350 runs instead of the 430 he set for us to win? Sure there was still a lot of time left to go for a score of over 400 runs but the same could be said about getting 10 2nd innings wickets right?
Onto the 3rd one we Go!!
I’m very proud of the way our fighting spirit has come to the fore especially on Day 2 & 5 but the Proteas will know that we’ll have to improve in almost all facets of our game if we want to win this last test match. Let’s look at the bowling first:
As harsh as it may sound, the bowling has been poor when you consider the high standard these guys have set for themselves in the previous 2 or 3 test series. There has been some brilliant individual spells by some but we need that to become more frequent & for longer periods.
The biggest strength of our bowling department has been how soundly each bowler compliments the other guys & how well the back-up & 1st change bowlers followed up the usually strong opening partners’ performances. With that being said it’s obvious that we not only missed Big Vern’s wicket taking prowess but the fact that he doesn’t go for a lot of runs as well. Ryan McLaren (no slouch with bat or ball) has been called up as cover for Philander & Kallis but I hope that he won’t be needed. Kleinveldt’s minor improvement has shown us that he can mix it up with boys on the test level & I hope we give him another shot (pending Philander’s availability). Tahir, ai tog.. Look as terrible as he’s been in the last test match, he does offer something different & gives our bowling team some variety so I’ll play him in the 3rd test. Now for the batting:
Please, please, please drop Jacques Rudolph!! You know I really hoped that he would provide at least one innings of substance, instead a rookie upstaged him (& some others) with TWO brilliant, veteran-like outings, something you’d expect from the likes of Rudolph. I hope that Kirsten doesn’t go all Heynecke Meyer on us & keep a player that’s clearly out of form. Hell, he couldn’t even repay Kirsten’s faith in him by moving him up the order to prove that he belongs in the team, that in itself should be enough to cut him from the starting 11. Dropping Rudolph also creates the perfect opportunity to bring in Thami Tsolekile which could help AB de Villiers to solely concentrate on his batting which (coz of his keeping duties or not) has also dipped in form. If that’s not the route the selectors want to go, then giving Dean Elgar a shot is also an option when you consider that like Faf, he also provides a spin option. I understand that we’ve been hit by some unlucky injuries (JP, Vern & Kallis), guys that have been heavily instrumental in our success of late & the well-balance of the team and consistency in selection certainly helped with that but some changes will have to be made whether it’s strategic or forced.
Keys to winning the series:
- We can’t allow Oz to go about their batting at 4 – 6 runs an over: Our bowlers will have to start building pressure batting situations for longer periods & frustrate their Ozzy counterparts who can get a bit antsy if the runs aren’t coming easily for them.
- Build more partnerships: More so on the bowling front, we can’t have say a Steyn go for 1’s & 2’s on the one end & the other bowler go for 8 or 10 on the other end.
- Remove Clarke & key batsmen early: Yes, Clarke is in the form of his life but just like our very own form batter (Amla), he does give us chances to get him out, especially early his innings. The Ozzies really depended on their middle order to get them out of some tough situations so we need to get to Wade & the tail a.s.a.p if we want a chance.
- Be more aggressive: It’s not in their nature to be as hostile & aggressive as the Ozzies but for the guy on the fence, it would like the they want to win more badly than the Proteas. Kirsten & Biif has no need to motivate their troops because everyone knows what’s at stake here but an aggressive mindset wouldn’t hurt.
I’m still confident that we can win the last match & with that the series because as below par as we’ve been AND to a certain extent, as dominating as Australia has been, they still couldn’t beat us in the 2 successive tries. Clarke even admitted that they ‘did their best’ & I’m sure Biff can’t say the same. Well they have one more chance, one last bite at the cherry & if they can step up a gear, I have no doubt that we can beat the Ozzies once again. And here’s the team I’d love to see doing would look like this:
Biff, Viro, Hash, JK, AB, Faf, Dean / Thami, Vern / Rory, Dale, Morne & Immy. Feel free to let me know what you think.