Can SA find a way to counter-attack Pakistan’s spinners in Durban?
South Africa will need to find a way to counter-attack Pakistan’s spinners if they are to level the one-day international series when teams meet in Durban on Tuesday (1pm).
The squads head to Kingsmead with the visitors 1-0 up after beating the Proteas by five wickets in the opening game of five at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
South Africa posted an insufficient 266 for only two wickets and Pakistan paced their innings well‚ despite a few late flutters‚ to get home with five balls to spare.
Hashim Amla‚ who made an unbeaten 108‚ said Pakistan’s four spinners put the skids on any acceleration he and Rassie van Dussen had been planning.
“It wasn’t that free-flowing pitch up front‚" he said.
"They managed to bowl quite a few spinners which stunted us a little bit in the middle overs and the back end.
"They also bowled quite a few yorkers to make it difficult for us as well.
“It was a tough pitch to bat on. I know we only lost two wickets but it was kind of tough to get the ball rolling. Their spinners bowled pretty decently.
“I think they also bowled pretty well towards the back end. We tried to score but we couldn’t get to it. It was one of those games where unfortunately we didn’t get the acceleration towards the back end of the innings.”
Man of the match Mohammad Hafeez‚ who steered the ship home with 71 off only 63 balls‚ said the Pakistan team were pleased when South Africa did not kick on to a higher total.
“I think the bowlers did the job for us‚" Hafeez said.
"We restricted them from getting that par score. We were thinking 290-300 was a par score on this track but the bowlers really put in a great effort.
"Once it was 266 we were all very confident as a team. We knew one good partnership would make it. It was a good start by the openers and then Babar Zaman also did job for us."
There was at least one bright light for South Africa on the day with debutant Rassie van der Dussen making 93 at number three.
“Rassie batted exceptionally well‚" Amla said.
"Obviously‚ someone on debut coming in is always going to have the added nerves more than anything. It was the kind of pitch where somebody coming in finds it difficult.
"It took about 20 to 30 balls to get the pace of the pitch and get some kind on rhythm. He got through that and then batted really beautifully.”
Amla also said he was pleased with the progress Reeza Hendricks‚ who made 45‚ is making in the side. Hendricks opened with Amla in the absence of Quinton de Kock‚ who is being rested for the first two games.
“Reeza has got a few games under is belt and he’s been doing pretty well‚" he said.
"He’s calm‚ composed and we know he’s a wonderful player and guys like him and Rassie will only get better because the more experience you get the more you understand different services in your own game. So he batted really well.”
Amla said the team would need to bounce back in Durban.
“It’s just the first game‚ so I don’t think it’s too much of a back foot situation. They always say‚ you learn more from your losses so I don’t think we should look too far ahead.
"The next game is around the corner and we’d obviously want to get in a better performance and a victory under our belt.”