SA OPENING PARTNERSHIP STATS IN 2019 ARE A DISGRACE
Check these out! In 2019 the highest opening stand for South Africa in tests was 56! The average was 11.3 runs as an opening stand. That is using a large sample set of 16 opening stands (if you can even call them stands). What a terrible way to start an innings and puts the whole team on the back foot from the outset. Even if Aiden Markram had not injured himself he should have been dropped (just like Temba Bavuma) and while Dean Elgar is a senior player in the side, he needs to be more consistent. In his last 14 test innings, he has failed to reach double figures in 9 of them and made only one score above 50. He has a big 160 to mask what would otherwise be a shocking average for an opener. That is the problem with Elgar, he makes the odd big score every 10 innings or so but fails in too many. It is time for Elgar to step up or give someone else a chance.
MASSIVE OPPORTUNITY FOR MALAN
Can 30 yr old debutant Pieter Malan solve the troublesome opening spot for the Proteas and make it his own? Two other 30 yr olds made successful debuts in the first test and now it’s Malan’s turn to see if he can make the step up. Captain Faf du Plessis has spoken about the advantage of having an “experienced” debutant step up as they are bit more mentally mature and know their own games better when compared to a talented youngster for example. “Pieter making his debut is a guy that knows his game. Whether it is domestic experience or international experience, it is about making sure that you know your game. I was one of them as well … the long trek to get to the spot they wanted to be at.”
CAN ENGLAND BOUNCE BACK?
England had some issues with a virus in the camp in the first test. Apparently that virus has also affected Dom Sibley while one of the few shining lights, Rory Burns, has been ruled out of the series after damaging his ankle playing soccer at practice yesterday. The question is, can England bounce back at Newlands? They have struggled this season but did show some fight in their Ashes defeat to Australia. The big players in the team, Joe Root, Ben Stokes and James Anderson will have to really step up if they are to overcome a rejuvenated South African outfit. Stokes can do some serious damage when on his game … who can forget the carnage he inflicted on South Africa at this same ground in 2017?