Proteas captain Faf du Plessis was not ashamed to admit that he prefers pitches that suit his bowling attack, even if his batters struggle.
When the subcontinent teams come to play, pitches seem to suit the Proteas’ bowling unit a tad more. Well, that’s just an observation based on the totals that the Proteas put together at the Highveld stadiums against India, and against Pakistan in the first Test at Centurion.
In the Wanderers Test against India, the pitches prepared suited the pace bowlers and this was evident in the low scores posted. The first Test against India saw the Proteas post 263 and 180 at Newlands and India post 209 and 135, while the Wanderers saw India post 187 and 247 and the Proteas score 194 and 177.
This was no different in the Pakistan Test at Centurion that saw the visitors post 181 and 190, while the Proteas posted 223 and 151-4 to seal a six-wicket win.
The Centurion pitch was evidently inconsistent and aided the seamers tremendously. This was clearly seen by the inconsistent bounce and drastic sideways movement received by the seamers, who dominated the Test.
Du Plessis, who scored two ducks, admitted that he doesn’t mind seamer-friendly conditions that are detrimental to his batsmen – as long as the team wins.
‘We understand that home conditions aren’t perfect for batting,’ said Du Plessis. ‘The wickets we play assist our seam bowling attack.’
‘We’ve got the best bowling attack statistically in the world and it would be stupid not to make use of that. So if that means it makes life a little bit tougher for us as batters …as long as we are winning Tests matches, I will definitely smile about it.
‘We joke about it a lot, you’d rather want to be batting in Australia as an opening batsman, as Dean [Elgar] says all the time.
‘For me, it’s about winning Test matches, and at the moment we are doing that at home. In a perfect world you’d love your batters to do well and score hundreds all the time, but the wickets we are preparing are not flat wickets, there is good assistance for the seamers.’