Ottis Gibson has described Mickey Arthur’s comments about South African pitches not being good enough for Test cricket as ‘strange’, writes KHALID MOHIDIN from Newlands.
The Pakistan coach blasted the quality of South African pitches after his side were skittled for 177 in their first innings and claimed that the local tracks were ‘not good enough for Test cricket’.
Arthur’s comments came after day two of the second Test at Newlands, which saw Pakistan lose their grip on the contest, first when Faf du Plessis’ first Test ton at the venue helped the Proteas post a total of 382-6, and then when Pakistan lost their first four wickets for 149 runs.
The consensus was that the pitches had been prepared to favour seamers, which as a result made it difficult for the batsmen to score freely, thus making it an uneven contest between bat and ball. Nonetheless, Pakistan – who also possess a talented seam attack – only managed to take four wickets on day two, contradicting the statement made by Arthur, himself a former Proteas coach.
Gibson said while he doesn’t like to comment on others’ statements, ‘what I will say is to make a comment like that when your team has only got four wickets on the day, and a guy has scored a hundred seems a little bit strange.
‘Mickey and I go way back to our days in Kimberley and get along very well, but I guess when you are behind the game like he was, you want to deflect away from your team and that’s the way to do it.
‘I would have probably said the same thing, but on that day Faf got an amazing 100 – one of the best I’ve seen in a long time – and Pakistan only got four wickets.’
The Proteas will take an unassailable 2-0 lead into the third Test at the Wanderers, which starts on Friday.
‘My thing is that Test cricket over the years has always been about if you are prepared to bat long and stick it out and show some resilience and fight and [show] character, then you score runs and earn the runs you score.
‘Yes, the wicket was a little uneven, I’m not going to deny that, but Faf, Aiden (and) Shan Masood showed you can still bat on it and get runs.
‘So I don’t agree with the fact that it was the worst pitch we’d ever seen. We were in Sri Lanka not too long ago and I can tell you they were a lot worse than this, in my opinion,’ concluded Gibson.
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