Duanne Olivier happy with return to Test cricket but says there is room for improvement
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Johannesburg — While delighted to have restricted India to 202 in their first innings on Monday, Duanne Olivier felt the tourists got a few more runs than they should have on the opening day of the second Test here.
South Africa’s bowlers produced a much improved display to the one on the first day in Centurion last week, where India finished just three wickets down at stumps. On this occasion the visitors were three down at lunch, with Olivier picking up wickets off consecutive deliveries 10 minutes before the interval.
At stumps, South Africa was on 35/1, with the goal to bat all of Tuesday, to give themselves firm control of the match.
“If you’d offered us 202 at the start, we’d have taken that,” said Olivier. However such was the manner in which they bowled, especially in the period leading up to lunch, that by the time they’d reduced India to 116/5 in the afternoon with the dismissal of their captain for this match, KL Rahul, the Proteas had their eye on restricting India to less than 200.
That didn’t happen thanks to Ravi Ashwin’s gutsy innings of 46, but South Africa nevertheless left the ground on Monday evening happy.
“The message from (head coach Mark) Boucher was to make them play more,” Olivier said about the plan in the first session. “In that first hour, we didn’t get the rewards, but we made them play more and we risked a little bit.”
The wickets came in the second hour, the first going the way of Marco Jansen when he dismissed Mayank Agarwal and then Olivier struck a double blow removing Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane on the stroke of lunch. It was his first Test wickets in three years, with Rahane’s scalp giving him his 50th Test wicket.
“I think today it felt like a new debut. I was very nervous today,” said the 29 year old.
Those nerves however weren’t the reason he was bowling at less than 130km/h - according to the television speed gun. “I don’t know what is going on with the speed gun. I don’t look at the speed gun to say my pace is down. For me it’s about having good energies on the ball,” said Olivier.
He finished with figures of 3/64 in 17 overs, a solid return although he knows there is room for improvement. In particular he was concerned by what he described as floating the ball, when he tried to locate a fuller length. “I didn’t get it right today, sometimes it was a bit ‘floaty’ and that’s okay, as a person you try to improve. I’ll do a bit of reflection. I’m still trying to bowl fuller, at good pace.”