The Proteas had
fought back to a position of strength in the first Test against Pakistan in
Karachi, but an all too familiar subcontinent batting collapse in their second
innings saw them eventually go down by
Here, Lloyd Burnard looks
at five talking points to emerge from the contest.
1. Another subcontinent collapse
South Africa’s second innings, Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen put on
127 for the second wicket in a partnership that looked to have changed the
game. Showing immense patience and concentration, the pair erased the deficit
for the Proteas, which was 158 before their second innings got underway. When Van
der Dussen departed, the score read 175/2,
meaning South Africa lost their last nine wickets for 70 runs. It was
never going to be enough.
again, spin bowling was the undoing for the Proteas batsmen on the
we knew how to fix them, we wouldn’t be doing them in the first place,”
was De Kock’s honest response when quizzed on his side’s collapses on the
were certainly glimpses of promise – Markram, Van der Dussen, Dean Elgar and
Temba Bavuma all looked comfortable at stages – but it was often a case of
survival at all costs when facing, in particular, leg-spinner Yasir Shah.
2. Proteas need a wrist spinner for Rawalpindi
Maharaj worked tirelessly in Karachi and was accurate throughout. He was
difficult to score off and gave the Proteas an element of control that was seen
in the Pakistan run rate during their first innings. The truth, though, is that
he was nowhere near as threatening as Shah. That much is obvious, and was not ever
expected to be different, but it shows how much the Proteas missed Tabraiz
left-arm wrist spinner was on the original team sheet, but he pulled out on the
first morning of the Test with a back spasm. Maharaj might be more consistent,
but Shamsi offers a variation in attack that makes him far more difficult to
predict and, ultimately, more of a wicket-taking weapon.
under-bowled George Linde’s opportunities were limited, but he is also left-arm
orthodox and offered much the same as Maharaj.
Rawalpindi, expect Shamsi to come in for Linde.
3. Kagiso Rabada races to 200
Proteas may have lost, but there was reason to celebrate on day three when
Kagiso Rabada became the seventh South African to take 200 Test wickets.
just 25, Rabada became the fourth youngest bowler of all time to reach the
milestone while he was also the third fastest in terms of deliveries
impressive facts highlight the importance of this rare talent to the Proteas
has been the toughest of periods for South African cricket on and off the field
in recent times but, in Rabada, they have a player who remains on course to go
down as one of the greats of the game. He is, surely, one of South African
cricket’s most important figures currently.
Pakistan legend Wasim Akram said on commentary duty, the best could very well
be yet to come for Rabada.
African legend Allan Donald joined the chorus of praise, backing Rabada to take over
500 wickets in his Test career.
4. De Kock batting conundrum
was always meant to be a temporary fix, but as long as Quinton de Kock is not
scoring runs, questions will remain over his role as Test captain.
Kock is such an important player for the Proteas and is being backed heavily by
coach Mark Boucher as the side’s No 5. Boucher has is reasons for that
decision, and De Kock is certainly a player who can take the game away from
opposition attacks in no time at all.
Kock insists that he is able to manage the added workload of batting in the top
order, but the stats continue to suggest that he is at his most impactful when
coming in lower down.
are his batting stats, by position, in Test cricket:
4 – 91 runs at 22.75
5 – 176 runs at 29.33
6 – 706 runs at 28.24
7 – 1 546 runs at 49.87
with any cricketing sense would ever argue that De Kock is not good enough to
bat in the top order in Test cricket, but questions over the No 5 decision
arise as a result of the current captaincy circumstances combined with just how
good he has been at No 7 historically.
5. Selection for Rawalpindi
will very interesting to see where Boucher and De Kock go in terms of team
selection for the second Test as the Proteas look to save the series.
on the evidence of Karachi, they could do with bulking up the batting.
will surely play if fit, possibly coming in for Linde, while bulking up the
batting could then see Lungi Ngidi losing his place.
question then becomes, who do you replace him with?
Wiaan Mulder is the logical option, coming in at No 7, while he would also
provide a significant contribution with the ball.
the Proteas wanted to go with a specialist batsman, which is unlikely given how
short that would leave them in the bowling department, then Keegan Petersen
will be the favourite to play while Kyle Verreynne would also be an
and fitness, of course, will shape selection but the Proteas side could read:
Elgar, Markram, Van der Dussen, Du Plessis, De Kock, Bavuma, Mulder, Maharaj,
Rabada, Nortje, Shamsi.