Proteas need vast improvement to level series with India

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Andile Phehlukwayo of South Africa bats during the 2023 One Day International match between South Africa and India at Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on 17 December 2023 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
  • Post published:December 19, 2023

South Africa will hope to bounce back from their humiliating eight wicket defeat to India in the first One-Day International when they clash again in Gqeberha on Tuesday in the second match of the three-game series.

It is do-or-die for The Proteas if they are top avoid a home series loss but the way they were so comprehensively outplayed in the first game – bowled out for a record low at home of just 116 – suggests a vast improvement is needed.

Batting coach JP Duminy says they are not too panicked, and that as the team, which is missing several leading names, develops, there will be good and bad days.

“When you are trying to build a brand and a style of play, you are potentially going to have those contrasting experiences,” he said. “That’s where the learning happens. Part of how you find consistency is actually experiencing either or and then understanding why things are happening. That’s the journey for us.

“When it’s good, we are really good. When conditions are good, we can score 400 but how do we still find our way to 280 on a tough wicket? That’s the question for us.”

The Gqeberha pitch is expected to be slow and helpful to spinners. South Africa did not read the conditions at all at The Wanderers in the first game after winning the toss and will have to be better this time round.

“If you assess conditions and understand where the biggest threat is, you have to land the ball there consistently,” Duminy said.

“Think of Arshdeep (Singh) and his ability to swing the ball up front as well as nibble it. He was asking those questions consistently, so you were always under pressure and when you don’t have those answers, today happens.

“It’s about coming up against the conditions and the opposition and finding the right formula.”

In the absence of Temba Bavuma up front, Tony de Zorzi will open the batting again having been one of the few that came out of the first game with any credit with the willow.

“Tony has all the attributes to be consistent,” Duminy says. “What I really enjoyed was still finding a way of scoring above 100 strike rate under those difficult circumstances and the conviction in his movement, the conviction in his options and his clarity and commitment to his shots.”

The third and final game in the series will be played in Paarl on Thursday, before the two-test series that starts on Boxing Day.