India expose Proteas Women’s Test inexperience

MASABATA Klaas toiled hard for South Africa on day 1 of the Test against India yesterday. BackpagePix

MASABATA Klaas toiled hard for South Africa on day 1 of the Test against India yesterday. BackpagePix

Published Jun 29, 2024


THE Proteas Women endured a tough start on day one of the one-off Test match against India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai yesterday.

A rusty effort in the field, and inconsistency with the ball left South Africa with a mountain to climb to claw their way back into the match.

South Africa lost the toss, and India took full advantage of friendly batting conditions. The home side posted a mammoth 525/4 at stumps, and they hold all the cards heading into day two.

The Proteas struggled to find consistency in line and length and as a result they couldn’t build any pressure, with runs flowing from both ends.

India maintained a more than healthy run rate of above five per over throughout the day, with the pairing of Smriti Mandhana (149) and Shafali Verma (205) getting the home side off to a good start with an opening stand of 292 runs.

The opening pair sniffed out early new ball danger, and they safely navigated through a first session that quickly found momentum and forced the Proteas into mistakes as the wicket-less first session was expensive with 4.64 runs conceded per over.

Jemimah Rodrigues (55), Harmanpreet Kaur (42) and Richa Ghosh (43) helped India over the 500-run mark and took full control of proceedings.

Marizanne Kapp was selected as a batter due to workload management, and all-rounder Annerie Dercksen (11-0-60) made her Test debut, and had big shoes to fill as she was entrusted with the new ball.

Dercksen opened the bowling with Masabata Klaas (14-0-63) and their opening spell was by far the most decent of the day before India started piling on to the runs.

South Africa, playing only their second Test match of the year, needed to adjust quickly, especially against one of the top Test playing nations with heavyweights England and Australia among their recent victims.

Nonkululeko Mlaba (24-0-113), Nadine de Klerk (10-1-62) and Delmari Tucker (26-2-141) had decent outings but they couldn’t deliver telling blows.

The tourists’ lack of patience and inability to build pressure allowed the home side to pull away and seize the advantage, and with only five maidens from 98 overs, the visitors were always chasing the game.

Tucker, playing in only her second Test, was the pick of the bowlers.

“There was hardly any movement up front with the ball. We knew the wicket was going to be for spin, but I think after lunch there was a little bit more spin. We just have to be better tomorrow and use what we saw today to our advantage,” Tucker said.

“We are still young in Test cricket. Some of us have played three games, and some of us were on debut today, so we are still getting used to it. It is tough, it’s not ODI or T20 cricket, but we are still learning.

“It is difficult for a captain to set a field when we are bowling different lines. I think that’s where we can be better tomorrow; we need to get the line and length right for the field we have, it’s something we struggled on today which we can do better tomorrow.”