Proteas coach Shukri Conrad says Newlands groundsman Braam Mong will have to “take it on the chin” after a poor pitch resulted in the shortest Test in history.
With the green pitch offering excessive seam movement and variable bounce, the Proteas were bowled out for 55 by India just before lunch on a first day in which 23 wickets fell in 75.1 overs.
The hosts went on to suffer a seven-wicket defeat in a Test that lasted 624 balls (107 overs).
“You only need to look at the scores, you only need to look at the way [India] chased a little target of 80 to know [whether the wicket was good or not],” said Conrad at the post-match press conference.
“It’s a sad state when you need more luck than skill to survive in a Test match. All the ethics and values of Test cricket go out the window. This was just a slug-fest, a slogathon and [about] whoever was luckier – but take nothing away from India, they were superb and you ain’t going to win many Test matches scoring 50-odd. But it wasn’t great. Both the cricket and the wicket.”
However, Conrad refused to roast Newlands’ groundsman, who has had the job for almost two years but was preparing a Test pitch for the first time.
“I know Braam. Braam is a good guy. Sometimes good guys get things wrong. This doesn’t turn Braam into a rubbish groundsman,” Conrad said.
“You’ve got to feel for the groundsman, especially down in Cape Town, where we’ve got wind to contend with and he wants to get it so right that maybe the wicket was a little bit over-prepared.
“He’s got to take it on the chin. That will be my message to Braam.”