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

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - STU­ART HESS

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.

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