Decision to walk in first Test was premature, says Temba Bavuma
JOHANNESBURG - Temba Bavuma admitted that he should have waited for the umpire to make a decision about his dismissal in the first Test, calling his decision to walk premature.
Bavuma spoke for the first time about his ‘dismissal’ in the first Test against Sri Lanka, while also highlighting that he, like all the Proteas batsmen, was under extra pressure owing to their seniority in what is a very young squad.
Bavuma scored 71 at SuperSport Park, helping Faf du Plessis to create a turnaround in that match after the Sri Lankans had dominated the first day. The duo shared a partnership of 179 as South Africa went onto post 621, the first time the side had scored a total of more than 600 in five years.
“The pressure was on the batters, especially as they were the senior guys in the team, to really step up and lead the way. I was able to set up a partnership with him, to get us into a winning position. It was nice to get some runs, get my confidence growing and most importantly build from there,” said Bavuma.
It could have been an even better outcome, except Bavuma walked when he believed he’d edged a delivery from Dasun Shanaka through to the wicketkeeper, before umpire Marias Erasmus even had the chance to raise his finger. Replays showed Bavuma hadn’t touched the ball, and his decision surprised Du Plessis at the non-striker’s end, who said later he’d not heard a nick.
“I would have wanted to score a lot more runs, the opportunity was there,” said Bavuma. “Me walking prematurely before the umpire had made the decision, looking back was not the cleverest of things. It happened in the spur of the moment.”
The pain from missing out on a milestone was assuaged somewhat by the outcome of the first Test, with Bavuma explaining that it provided solace after what has been a difficult couple of years for the Proteas Test side.
“The biggest challenge (for the second Test) is to match the effort we produced in the first.”
“The guys who got in, took their opportunity, specifically Faf. The challenge is for the batters to get in and then get a big score to put the team in a good position.”
The inexperienced bowling unit, showed plenty of resilience in the first Test, recovering from an ordinary display on the first day, to put Sri Lanka under enormous pressure in the second innings. “There is a lot of skill among those guys (the bowlers) we chat to them from a mental point of view so we want to know how they get into the right (mental) space so that they can put their best foot forward. They are eager and keen to learn, and try to suck as much information from the senior guys as they can.”
It was notable that at SuperSport Park, Bavuma was doing a lot of talking to Wiaan Mulder and debutant Lutho Sipamla in between deliveries or even at the end of their overs. Quinton de Kock pointed out that Bavuma, a candidate for the Test team’s captaincy, was part of the senior leadership group he’d relied on for assistance in the first Test.
“I enjoy that responsibility,” he said. “Quinny and I have played quite a while together. There is an understanding in terms of our strengths and where we can help each other. I guess you could say that I help with all the ‘soft issues’ when we’re in the field. Any kind of responsibility I will take, I enjoy that part of the game.
“Being seen as a senior player in the team is quite nice, it allows you to defocus from yourself, forget about all the external pressures and really give to the team in another way.”
*Seam bowler, Glenton Stuurman was released from the Test squad on Friday, after suffering a left quadriceps muscle strain. He will return to his franchise, the Warriors, for rehabilitation.
With Kagiso Rabada and Beuran Hendricks added to the squad earlier this week, no further replacements will be called up. The second Test against Sri Lanka starts at the Wanderers on Sunday.
Quinton de Kock (capt), Temba Bavuma, Aiden Markram, Faf du Plessis, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Rassie van der Dussen, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Sarel Erwee, Wiaan Mulder, Kyle Verreynne, Beuran Hendricks, Lutho Sipamla, Raynard van Tonder.