Bowlers must do better - SmithComment on this story
Brisbane - South Africa captain Graeme Smith expects his celebrated bowling attack to raise their game in the second Test against Australia after his batsmen were forced to scrap for a draw in the opener on Tuesday.
Much of the talk before the three-Test series was about the threat posed to Australia by Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander, the top two bowlers in the world rankings, as well as Morne Morkel, who is also in the top 10.
They were put to the sword by Australia's batsmen on a flat wicket at the Gabba, however, with Ed Cowan and Mike Hussey both scoring centuries and skipper Michael Clarke plundering 259 not out.
Smith was not prepared to concede the momentum had shifted to the home side ahead of the second Test in Adelaide but said he did expect better from his pace attack.
“I think we just didn't hit our straps with the ball. Four hundred and fifty was a good total, winning the toss and batting,” he told reporters.
“It was a little bit damp on the first two batting days, then it dried out nicely and certainly Michael and Cowan transferred that pressure onto us and we could have responded a little bit better.
“But I'll expect our bowlers to do better in the future.”
Smith said the loss of the second day to rain when South Africa had not helped, and neither had losing JP Duminy and his occasional spin when the all rounder ruptured his Achilles in a training session after the close on the opening day.
“I just don't think we backed up well enough,” he said. “We had periods when we were good, then lost our way a little bit. Didn't really bowl well in partnerships to create enough pressure on Australia's batting. Certainly on day four.
“All in all, I cannot complain about our bowlers. The majority of the time they rock up and they perform extremely well. Hopefully that will happen in Adelaide again.”
Smith was less than impressed with the 23 no balls bowled in the match by the South Africans, one of which cost them the wicket of Cowan early in his innings.
“No balls played a big role in the game. Probably the highest scorer in the game,” he said.
“From our perspective, it's not acceptable and the guys know that. There's a good personal responsibility there and it's something that needs to be improved upon.
“Certainly, potentially 70-4 overnight on day three and there was a great opportunity for us. We took that into our bowling the next day and just sort of meandered along.”
The second Test at the Adelaide Oval begins on November 22. – Reuters