PROTEAS ARE IN A SPIN OVER BOWLING LINE-UP
South Africa might go for an all-out pace attack in the final Test match against Sri Lanka on quick pitch
SO do the Proteas pick Wayne Parnell or Duanne Olivier? What about playing both of them as part of an all seam attack?
There are certainly sufficient options on the table for Russell Domingo and Faf du Plessis when they consider the make up of the South African attack for the final Test against Sri Lanka starting at the Wanderers on Thursday.
Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj has performed his ‘holding’ role well, not leaking runs at his end and allowing Du Plessis to rotate his quicks from the other side. Even on green tops as have been prepared for the first two Tests, Maharaj has still had success, picking up seven wickets while his economy rate of 3.14 has given Du Plessis enough control.
But the Wanderers is a venue that does tempt coaches and captains into utilising an all seam attack. In the last three Tests at the ‘Bullring’ spinners have been largely ineffectual including two of the leading tweakers of the modern era, Ravi Ashwin of India and Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal. Ashwin went wicketless in 42 overs during the memorable draw there three years ago and earlier in 2013, Ajmal, in 41 overs, claimed just one wicket when Pakistan folded in the midst of fury generated by Dale Steyn.
Even last season when England beat South Africa, just three wickets fell to spin and two of those were to Dean Elgar in England’s second innings when they needed just 74 to win.
“It’s a difficult decision,” bowling coach Charl Langeveldt remarked yesterday. “We will wait until the last minute. Look we’re not scared to play it either way, we are blessed in that regard.”
The Wanderers pitch got its first bit of sun yesterday afternoon, after groundsman Bethuel Buthelezi had to conduct his preparations under a tent at the weekend.
The possibility of four-pronged pace attack will be weighed up between what has worked well for South Africa this season – which has been three seamers and Maharaj’s left arm spin – and the fact that Parnell last played a Test in 2014 and Olivier has no Test experience.
Langeveldt was leaning towards Parnell taking the new ball regardless of what options the selectors take with make up of the attack explaining that the 27 year old was finally achieving the consistency that has hampered his growth as an international player.
“He’s played domestic cricket last year and this year. Previously he’s been on tour (with the Proteas) and didn’t have enough cricket under his belt and when you’re not playing enough, and then you play an international where you have to hit your straps, bowl consistently, that’s a big thing,” Langeveldt explained.
Parnell is fresh off an excellent all-round display in which he took match figures of 6/98 from 48.3 overs and then hit a second innings hundred to inspire the Cape Cobras to their first Sunfoil Series win of the season.
Langeveldt has worked closely with Parnell correcting faults in his action and impressing on him the need to bowl with greater consistency if he is to have a positive impact on the international scene. “He brings something different and he’s taken the new ball for the Cape Cobras, he’s got his shape back. He swings the ball up front and that makes a big difference.”
Olivier brings a season’s worth of good form to the table and despite not getting onto the field last week when the Knight’s Sunfoil Series match against the Titans was rained out, he remains the leading wicket-taker in the competition with 28 victims at an average of 21.60. “He’s the type of bowler who does swing the ball up front, he’s an aggressive bowler, he likes to take wickets, he’ll probably go for a few runs, but that is something to work on,” said Langeveldt.
Despite concerns about Kagiso Rabada’s workload Langeveldt said the young quick was straining at the leash to show off his talents at his home ground. Langeveldt said despite already bowling a lot of overs this season and with a lot of cricket on the horizon, Rabada was unlikely to take a break and that a better time for him to recuperate would be while the T20 series is on.
“This week suits him a bit more with the pitch having good bounce,” said Langeveldt. Following his 10-wicket haul at Newlands last week, Rabada is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 14. “KG’s bowling with good pace, his rhythm is getting back. In PE he struggled a bit just because of the break of three weeks that he had. He loves bowling in Johannesburg.” the Proteas, and improving the standard of coaching.
The domestic review involved various players, coaches and local administrators and recommended the establishment of a seventh franchise, which CSA’s Board will discuss at a meeting later this month.
“Our aim with these reviews is to critically analyse our existing cricket structures,” said CSA’s chief executive Haroon Lorgat.