Marco Jansen says the Proteas need to recognise and capitalise on the moments that matter if they are to bounce back against Australia in Sydney.
The Proteas have already lost the Test series, following defeats in Brisbane and Melbourne, but will be playing for pride and ICC Test Championship points in the third Test, which starts on Wednesday.
Jansen, who has taken four wickets with the ball in the series and made a career-best 59 with the bat at the MCG, says it’s up to each Proteas player to do what they can to help the team succeed.
“I know everyone goes out there to give their best, but at the end of the day it’s about trying to figure out what we can do as a team or individuals to really influence the game in a defining way,” said the 22-year-old on Monday.
“Whether it’s taking five blows to the body while batting or bowling seven or eight overs on the trot, it’s those things that matter. It’s about recognising the moment and doing whatever you can within your power to influence or help the team.
“You can say all these nice things about 150-plus partnerships or guys scoring double centuries, but it’s not always a case where a team scores 500 runs and then win the game.
“Test cricket is sometimes like the first Test, where a partnership of 80 wins you the game. My focus is on identifying those type of moments and capitalising on them.”
Jansen says the Proteas have reflected on what went wrong at the MCG – where they lost by an innings and 182 runs – and discussed how they can deliver an improved performance at the SCG.
“The chat over the past few days was that everyone is aware of their skill levels, we know we have the individual tools to succeed,” said Jansen. “It’s not like someone still needs to work on his outswinger or a front foot is going too far across the popping crease, whatever the case may be.
“It’s just about us making that mental shift and making a conscious decision to put up my hand and do whatever it takes to influence the team in a good way or get them over the line.”