CAPE TOWN – Everything has suddenly gone wrong for South Africa. In the space of a week they have veered from the sublime to plain average again.
There was always the fear the hosts would struggle to match the intensity of last week’s win in the nation’s capital here over New Year in Cape Town. And it showed yesterday at Newlands.
They struggled to create anything with the ball for long periods, which included a 116-run partnership between Joe Root (61) and Dom Sibley (85*) for the third wicket, as the initial analysis of the Newlands surface started to ring true. There wasn’t much in terms of seam movement on offer, and with the overcast conditions creating a cloth over Table Mountain, the pitch did not get the amount of heat required that the spinners craved.
“It did flatten out a bit, which was surprising. It happened at SuperSport Park as well. Sometimes the overhead conditions do change our wickets. Our backs are up against it, let’s be honest,” Proteas coach Mark Boucher admitted.
“I think bowling quite a bit takes it toll. There was talk in the dressing room that the ball had gone quite soft. The guys had put in quite a bit of work in the first innings already, and then didn’t get much of a rest due to our batting. That takes its toll.”