Anrich Nortje: Third Test five-for made more special because it was in the subcontinent
JOHANNESBURG - Anrich Nortje said the third ‘five-for’in his career was made more special by the fact that it came in the sub-continent.
Nortje picked up 5/53 at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Friday to spearhead South Africa’s outstanding bowling effort, which saw them dismiss Pakistan for 272. On a docile pitch, with little reverse swing available, the 27 year old produced a couple of brutal spells to flatten the Pakistanis.
“It’s very special because it’s in the sub-continent,” said Nortje, who made his debut in Pune against India two years ago. His other two 'five-fors' came at the Wanderers, against England last year and Sri lanka last month. “I’ve learned so much about my game since then. Looking back, having my first game there, I was happy. It wasn’t easy, and I learned a lot from that.”
The nature of the pitch in Rawalpindi didn’t indicate that the short ball was a method to upset the batsmen. There’s very little pace off the surface as well. But Nortje was accurate in his use of the bouncer, always targeting the body of the batsmen and four of his wickets came from the bouncer.
“We had a chat about the energy of the fast bowlers, trying to create something in our spells. That’s exactly what happened in this game. We didn’t bowl long spells and just tried to dig it in.
"When the ball is harder, we saw an opportunity to get the short ball through and I think at the end of the day having that harder ball and getting extra bounce worked.”
South Africa finished the day on 106/4, but while Pakistan do have their noses in front, Nortje is hopeful the remaining batsmen can still ensure South Africa gets a lead.
“I think we’ve kept them to a good total and it is manageable for us to exceed their score. By no means do I think they got too much on that wicket. Hopefully we can get one or two guys in now, build a few partnerships. I have full confidence in the batting unit,” said Nortje.
Quinton de Kock on 24 - off only 11 balls - and Temba Bavuma on 15 will resume South Africa’s innings on Saturday.