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Hilton Moreeng pleased with Proteas’ Test preparations

FILE - Proteas Women’s head coach Hilton Moreeng. Photo: John Davidson/www.photosport.nz/BackpagePix

FILE - Proteas Women’s head coach Hilton Moreeng. Photo: John Davidson/www.photosport.nz/BackpagePix

Published Jun 23, 2022

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Johannesburg — Although his players are still getting to grips with three sessions of play, and batting from hour to hour and then coming back the next day, Proteas head coach Hilton Moreeng said he was pleased with the team’s preparation ahead of the one-off Test against England that starts Monday.

The Proteas wrapped up a three-day warm-up match against England A at Arundel Cricket Club in Sussex on Monday, which provided the requisite test of stamina, skill and concentration. Before the tour match the only other experience the players had of multi-day cricket was in a couple of training games the coaching staff set up at Centre for Excellence in Tshwane ahead of the tour.

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“The players’ conditioning was adjusted to make sure they were ready. Time in the legs was important, hence the two training games,” said Moreeng.

He had noted a marked improvement, even if the batters in particular continue to find the format tricky. “The batters have shown patience in how they have set up their innings and their application has been good, because that was something we didn’t see in the two preparation games we had, so we are very happy to see it now,” he said. “Most of the batters have had time in the middle and understand what is required.”

Laura Wolvaardt made a hundred against England A describing facing the red ball as being a “cool experience,” while skipper Sune Luus and Lara Goodall were also amongst the runs.

“Moving from white ball to red ball requires a lot of patience; as a coaching team that’s what we’ve identified. It’s about playing session by session, concentrating for longer is more taxing on the body and mind and technically they need to be sound to make sure that they can make an impact in the game.”

It is a journey into the unknown for many of the players. Only a handful have played in a Test match, and for most of those that match was eight years ago. The novelty factor perhaps explains why there is so much excitement in the camp. “To our surprise, our youngsters are enjoying it, because of the way it is played and how much time they have.”

Moreeng said he was yet to work out the balance of his starting team, stressing the need to assess conditions at Taunton, where next week’s Test will be played, before doing so. Whatever way South Africa chooses to go, they will most certainly be relying on their seam bowling - much as they do in the limited overs formats - to try and gain the upper hand against the marginally more experienced England team.

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Moreeng said the bowlers had adapted much better to the demands of the Test format than the batters, although they too had a few challenges.

“With the Duke ball it's all about adapting to the excessive swing, while the length they bowl is also different to what it is with the white ball.”

“The game is much slower, so patience in setting up batters and working to a plan is important. There is enough time to make plans and execute skills,” he added.

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