How the Proteas fared Down Un­der

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

THE EIGHT ODIs South Africa played in Aus­trala­sia in the last five weeks, were an im­por­tant marker for the World Cup next year. Stu­art Hess looks back at the five ar­eas that AB de Vil­liers, pic­tured, wanted his side to ex­cel in ahead of the World Cup.

FIELD­ING

There were some bril­liant mo­ments, cour­tesy of Faf du Plessis, but those were off­set by some very poor play, too – the four dropped catches in the first match in Perth stand out. The part­ner­ship be­tween Smith and Wade in Mel­bourne – es­pe­cially the risky run­ning the pair en­gaged in – cried out for some­one to pro­duce a sen­sa­tional run out The mo­ment ar­rived for Robin Peter­son, he missed. Over­all stan­dards were poor, too, SA need big im­prove­ment in this area.

DEATH BOWL­ING

Needs a lot of work. Aus­tralia in the last 10 overs in the first match scored 105/3, in game three it was 88/3, in­clud­ing 62 off the last five overs and in the fourth match it was 86/2. It’s okay that SA want more va­ri­ety at the back end of the in­nings, but most im­por­tantly, they need to be ac­cu­rate, and they were any­thing but in that re­gard.

Un­der­stand­ing the di­men­sions of the fields are cru­cial, some­thing SA didn’t do in Mel­bourne. Mainly, it’s the ac­cu­racy and com­po­sure that let them down.

OPEN­ING UP

It’s been tough, which open­ing is al­ways go­ing to be in this part of the world, at this early stage of the sea­son and against two new balls. So, it’s no sur­prise the re­sults for them have been er­ratic. Just one cen­tury stand and one part­ner­ship of 50. In their favour De Kock and Amla did score South Africa’s only cen­turies of the Aus­tralia se­ries. Given the prob­lems with fin­ish­ing the in­nings on this tour, more is needed from those at the top of the or­der.

BIG HIT­TING

A huge worry and one of the many ar­eas in which Du­miny’s ab­sence was keenly felt. Domingo said they weren’t smart enough in Mel­bourne, when they should have looked for more ones and twos in­stead of only want­ing to smash bound­aries.

Miller had some rea­son­able re­turns but never put him­self in po­si­tion to hit big shots as he has done in the IPL. Be­har­dien’s 63, was SA’s best in­nings in this part of their game.

COM­PO­SURE/ TOUGH­NESS

From the per­spec­tive of be­ing able to han­dle the sledg­ing, South Africa were fine, but the com­po­sure needed to be suc­cess­ful at the end of the in­nings was sadly miss­ing.

That is a big con­cern, given South Africa’s his­tory at ICC tour­na­ments. How do they re­solve it be­fore the World Cup? They can’t. When the mo­ment(s) ar­rive where they have to be cool and calm, the play­ers need to ap­ply them­selves, and get over that his­toric and mas­sive men­tal hump.

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