Proteas need to 'get the basics right' to win first Test on Sunday

29 December 2019 - 09:53 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
Anrich Nortje of South Africa during day 3 of the first International Test Series 2019/20 game between South Africa and England at Supersport Park, Centurion on 28 December 2019.
Anrich Nortje of South Africa during day 3 of the first International Test Series 2019/20 game between South Africa and England at Supersport Park, Centurion on 28 December 2019.
Image: © Catherine Kotze/BackpagePix

Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje says they need to get the basics right on day four of the Boxing Day Test in Centurion against England on Sunday to be able to defend their 255-run lead and take a 1-0 lead in the series.

The first Test is evenly poised going into Sunday’s play with England on 121/1 with opener Rory Burns looking good on 77 and Joe Denly on 10‚ and the wicket behaving fairly well.

“Nothing special tomorrow [Sunday]. I think it’s just about getting the basics right for long periods of times‚” Nortje said at the close of play on Saturday.

“Like we did in the first innings‚ we need to build pressure‚ stick to what we do best‚ keep the run-rate down and take wickets.”

Nortje‚ who is relatively new to the Test cricket scene‚ added that the SuperSport Park wicket was better for batting on Saturday than on Friday‚ and he hopes it favours the bowlers on Sunday.

“I think the pitch played a little bit better than Friday. It might have been conditions playing their part but hopefully it can be in our favour on Sunday by being up and down and we are able to take wickets.”

Nortje scored a defiant 40 in SA’s second innings 272 having come on as nightwatchman and said he enjoyed being out in the middle.

“I have enjoyed it so far. I have enjoyed being out there with the bat and doing the job of seeing the night out‚” he said.

“Bowling has been good. We would have liked to strike today but we did a good investment job by keeping the run rate down and hopefully we can strike tomorrow.”

Nortje said registering his maiden half-century had crossed his mind.

“It did‚ but I told myself to focus on the job at hand and be there for the next over‚” he said.

Vernon Philander is retiring after this series and Nortje said South Africa are going to miss “Big Vern”.

“Five overs for no runs is unbelievable – he is a quality guy‚ he’s got so much skill and we are definitely going to miss him.

“I listen to what he has to say in certain situations‚ and also having [bowling coach] Charl Langerveldt is also good because they have been around for a while.”

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