Head coach Mark Boucher shared some of the blame after the Proteas’ poor performance on day four of the third Test against England at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth.
Having conceded 499-9 to England, the hosts’ first innings slipped to 209 all out – and followed on with 102 for six. They are still 188 runs shy of at least making the English bat again.
‘Sunday was very disappointing, but it’s not a time to be pointing fingers, it’s a time to self-reflect. I need to look at myself and ultimately I must take responsibility and work out how I can mentally and physically upskill the players in a short space of time. I need to find a way. It’s easy to point at the system, but there are no excuses,’ said Boucher.
Part-time spinner Joe Root took four key wickets in South Africa’ second innings. His career-best Test haul included the dismissals of opposition captain Faf du Plessis and first-innings half-centurion Quinton de Kock.
‘Each guy has got his own gameplans and maybe they got a bit muddled. Sometimes they listen to the commentators talking about using their feet and being more dominant against spin, they want to dominate but conditions are very difficult, Root is bowling quickly. There’s an element of risk so the guys need options and I have to try and give them those,’ added Boucher.
‘We cannot hide behind it being a young batting unit, the nation wants performances but we cannot come out of this with our heads held high, it was a lackluster performance. The fight needs to come in as a group, but technique and upskilling the team is something I have to look after. A couple of the batsmen are under pressure through maybe a lack of form or confidence.’
Boucher hushed suggestion that this will be Du Plessis’ last Test series as captain. The veteran right-hander has not scored a Test century for over a year – and has endured a string of dissapointing scores this series.
‘Faf hasn’t said anything about retiring so I don’t think that’s going to happen. In terms of his state of mind, it would be easy for me to say he’s happy, but obviously he would be much better if he scored some runs,’ concluded Boucher.
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