Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said that the Newlands pitch did not provide a “good contest”. Photo: Ashfak Mohamed

CAPE TOWN – Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has blasted the state of South African pitches following the second day of the second Test against the Proteas at Newlands.

Arthur, who coached South Africa from 2005 through to 2010, was highly critical of the surfaces used for the two Test matches in the series thus far.

“I am little bit disappointed in that I haven’t been back to South Africa in a cricket capacity since 2010, and the wicket that we had in Centurion and the wicket that we had here (at Newlands) is not good enough for Test cricket,” Arthur said.

“We saw seven stoppages for balls that hit cracks today with the physio having to come out. And we are talking about Day 2.

“I understand if that was Day 4 and Day 5, because that is what happens in Test cricket – the wicket deteriorates.

“But it shouldn’t make your first innings a lottery. I think batting here in the first innings is really tough.

“I think poor Aiden Markram was outstanding yesterday. Being an opening batsman in South Africa at the moment is a tough gig.”

Pakistan have been rolled for 181, 190 and 177 in their three innings thus far in the series.

In contrast, the Proteas have managed 223, 151/4 and are currently 382/6 at stumps on the second day of the second Test.

South Africa’s batsmen certainly worked very hard for their runs, with captain Faf du Plessis, in particular, taking plenty of body blows en route to his century on Friday.

Arthur believed the difference between the two teams was that Pakistan’s bowlers could not match their South African counterparts in terms of pace.

“They are 382/6 and fair enough, but I still believe that it’s not a good contest. It has changed significantly since I was last here.

“We were also at 135km/h and South Africa’s bowlers were at 145km/h, and that 10km/h makes a big difference,” he added.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur speaks about the Newlands pitch after play on Friday. Video: Zaahier Adams

The state of South Africa’s pitches have been a point of discussion over the past couple of years, especially after the surface used for the third Test against India at the Wanderers last year was rated as “poor” by the ICC.

Ironically, though, India won that Test match at the “Bullring”, which is only one of two defeats the Proteas have suffered in their last 19 Tests played at home.

Temba Bavuma (75) spent the large part of the day at the crease with Du Plessis on Friday, with the pair putting on a 156-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

Bavuma agreed with Arthur that the surface was not easy to bat on.

“It is a challenging, tricky wicket. I think if I compare it to Centurion, it was a bit quicker. It was a bit hard to adjust to, but it is certainly not impossible,” Bavuma said. 

@ZaahierAdams


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