Aussie paceman Josh Hazlewood admits that he is searching for an answer to the Proteas’ reverse swing bowling.
It was an art the hosts could not master in the first Test in Perth, where they lost by 177 runs.
Hazlewood admits that he is puzzled about the state of the balls in the opposing innings. ‘Their ball seemed to keeps its hardness a bit more,’ he said. ‘When we bowled, the ball had a bit of a soft feel about it, a bit more tennis-ball-like.
‘But they are a well drilled unit when it comes to swing bowling and they got it going pretty well in both innings, which is rare in Perth.’
They also seem to have refined the art of roughing up one side of the ball by the way they return it to Quinton de Kock, hammering it into the turf, he added. ‘It is something we have talked about and we will look at it.’
Australians have commented on the way the Proteas’ fielders used the abrasive centre-wicket block to help rough up one side of the ball. ‘We are trying to throw it into the turf and scuff that one side up,’ Hazlewood said. ‘They were pretty well drilled on it and got that one side roughed up and the other one shiny. We will continue to work on it.’
Proteas opener Dean Elgar denied it was a ploy. ‘It’s definitely not a deliberate tactic by us trying to land the ball [on the centre-wicket block], he said. ‘You’re allowed to bounce the ball in from the boundary. All teams around the world use that tactic these days … all teams are welcome to do it, within the rules and regulations of the game.’