‘Window is open’ for Proteas despite another batting disaster, says Kyle Verreynne

South Africa’s wicket-keeper batsman Kyle Verreynne. Picture: Darren England/EPA

South Africa’s wicket-keeper batsman Kyle Verreynne. Picture: Darren England/EPA

Published Dec 17, 2022


Johannesburg - While acknowledging that the Australians are on top after the opening day of the first Test, Kyle Verreynne believes that the two late wickets taken on Saturday did provide the Proteas with hope.

Verreynne top scored with 64, as South Africa produced yet another dismal effort with the bat at the Gabba, slumping to 152 all out and registering their fifth sub-200 total in a row in Tests.

Australia were 145/5 at stumps, having recovered from 27/3 thanks to a 117-run fourth wicket partnership between Travis Head (78*) and Steve Smith who made 36.

The former Australian captain was one of those two wickets to fall at the end of the first day, to a gem from Anrich Nortje, while Kagiso Rabada picked up the wicket of night-watchman, Scott Boland.

“Those two wickets did bring us back into it a bit,” said Verreynne. “There’s a window open for us now. It would have been nice when we had them 27/3 to get a couple more then but I think these two at the end gives us a bit of hope going into tomorrow. If we can start off well then hopefully we are still in with a chance of setting something up in this game.”

Verreynne explained that despite the heavy grass covering on the pitch, the surface was good for batting and held no demons.

“When I say it's a good pitch, that is based more on what it looks like. When you see a pitch that’s so green you expect it to do so much, I think it did a lot less than what we thought,” he said.

“It wasn’t as soft as I think we would expect with the grass cover there was. I think the wicket was quite firm, there was a decent amount of pace and bounce. It’s better than what we expected it to be.”

He faced 96 balls and hit eight fours and a six, while sharing a 98-run partnership for the fifth wicket with Temba Bavuma after the pair came together with the Proteas on 27/4.

The 26 year old, playing in his 12th Test, said he relied on his first class experience and the fact that he’d often in recent seasons have to rescue Western Province from tricky positions.

“I’ve been in similar situations in the past and been reasonably successful in those situations. So for me even though it is a bigger stage, you always have that reference point, of having done it previously for your domestic side. I take confidence in that and the processes I followed back home and fortunately today it went okay-ish.”

With the sun expected to bake the pitch further and harden it thus making it quicker, Verreynne is optimistic that the bowlers can open the door further for the Proteas.

“We’ve got 150 on the board and that may be enough with what we’ve got in the changeroom. That is the space we are in and the approach we are looking to take. Obviously as batters, we need to be better. With the bowling line-up we have, any score that we get, there’s belief that our bowlers can do a job with what's on the board.”