Stephen Cook expressed his disappointment after SA A suffered a 197-run defeat to Australia A in the first of two four-day Tests.
The tourists played second fiddle to the hosts for most of the game after two average batting displays. Batting first after winning the toss, Australia mustered 396, to which the South Africans, whose starting XI boasted seven players with Test experience, replied with 284.
The home side then made 248-7 declared second time around to set a victory target of 361 on the final day. Cook’s men succumbed for just 163 in 49.4 overs as the hosts sealed a comfortable win.
‘It’s not the result we wanted, I think we were outplayed in all three facets by the Aussies in this game,’ the skipper said. ‘Obviously there were some individual performances, but certainly not the collective.
‘We played well in patches, but not for long enough to exert any pressure.’
With the bat, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas and Dean Elgar all got first-innings half centuries, while Andile Phehlukwayo provided a rare second-innings positive with his 55. Duanne Olivier was the top wicket-taker with five wickets with the ball.
‘I think the discipline we showed with the ball, the Aussies were far better and they hit the right areas,’ Cook explained. ‘We bowled far too many cut balls on the first day and we gave them 300 runs, which was way too many for the conditions. You’re always behind the eight ball and always under pressure when that happens.
‘It was a lot easier for them to bat yesterday (day 3) with the 100-odd run lead. That put us under pressure today (day four) and then the way they bowled with the new ball.’
The match was also South Africa’s first experience with the pink ball and they need to acclimatise to it even quicker considering that they will play in their first-ever Day-Night Test during the Proteas’ tour to Australia in November. The third match of the three-game schedule is to be played under lights in Adelaide.
‘It was completely different (playing with the pink ball),’ Cook added. ‘I mean we literally had two days of preparation. We’d never played with one before and it swings a bit up front, which we saw, and it goes a little bit softer. It was good from an experience point of view, in terms of working out how best to go about it, so next time we are faced with this challenge, we can hopefully adapt a little bit quicker.’
Photo: Bradley Kanaris