SA draw big lessons from Test defeat

Sune Luus of the Proteas scored a century against India in the second innings of their one-off Test this past week. | EPA

Sune Luus of the Proteas scored a century against India in the second innings of their one-off Test this past week. | EPA

Published Jul 3, 2024



The limited time spent playing red-ball cricket and the irregularity of Test- match cricket was the difference between South Africa pushing India all the way and falling short, as they did on the final day of the one-off Test match, losing by 10 wickets at the weekend.

The Proteas Women are battered and bruised after the defeat in India, having put up a brave fight against a strong Indian side in testing conditions. Their lack of experience cost them the small margins, but they gained valuable lessons.

There has been enough in the past few results to suggest that with more game time the Proteas Women could become a force in the red-ball format, the heavy defeat against Australia earlier in the year notwithstanding.

The draw against England in 2022, eight years after their previous Test in 2014, and the recent loss against India not only shows potential but also why this format needs to be given a chance to grow.

On paper, losing by 10 wickets will be seen as another heavy defeat, but it will be the small wins that will go a long way in fanning the growth of the format in the women’s space in South Africa.

Laura Wolvaardt (20 and 122) has said the more games they play, the more they will learn, and they will take the lessons against both India and Australia, as they prepare for England later this year.

“It was different from being in Australia, being at the Waca was all about the bounce, swing and the nip, whereas this (in India), it was all about the spinners and to sort of navigate all of that.

“Captaincy-wise it was tricky knowing which field to set. They had a lot of funky fields that were really hard to bat against and their spinners were accurate, they were able to land the ball on a R5 coin every single time.

“I have learnt a lot as a player, spending time in the middle batting is going to help my captaincy, just to observe what they were doing for more than 300 balls. It’s a learning process for me, it was a great experience and one of the most memorable of the three Test matches I have played because of the character we showed,” she said.

Wolvaardt again solidified why she is one of the best women batters to ever represent South Africa in all the formats, and the return to form of Sune Luus (65 and 109) ahead of crunch fixtures and World Cup tournaments was one of the wins in the match.

“She batted brilliantly. I was struggling to score and she just came in and started whacking them over the top. I think the bravery and execution in that innings was amazing, she picked the balls perfectly.

“She is seen as more of a white ball player and she is quite explosive in T20 cricket, so to see her knuckle down in both innings was very impressive.”

The bowling group had a tough first day with the pitch being at its best to bat on. The contributions with the bat and in the field from Nadine de Klerk (39 and 61), and Marizanne Kapp (74 and 31) helped push India all the way into the final session of the match.

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