Cobras coach Ashwell Prince says the Proteas’ inability to cope with pressure situations has been their downfall in the series.
The Proteas find themselves, once again, struggling to post a decent total in their first innings, and are facing the possibility of a defeat at Old Trafford.
After losing the toss, England choosing to bat and posting 362 in their first innings, SA struggled to respond, ending day two on 220-9, with Temba Bavuma posting the highest score for the Proteas, of 46.
In a post-match discussion in the Supersport Studio after the day’s play, Prince stated that both sides have struggled to respond in their second innings.
‘Both teams have not played the pressure situation well,’ said Prince.
‘When a team goes out and scores high 400s, you know that your side has to go out and score a high total in the first innings to be competitive in the game. We never managed that [in Lord’s].
‘In the next game, it’s reverse. We go and bat first, we post a score, they are not capable of putting up a good total.
‘Batsmen know if they don’t bat well in the first innings, they are going to be behind and in every match in the series, the team batting second has been way behind.’
The ex-Proteas opener then continued by addressing the elephant in the room, SA’s inability to handle pressure situations.
‘Unfortunately for us, it’s been three out of the four times. We’ve not been able to respond to the pressure.
‘We can hide away from that word [Pressure/Choke] as much as we like, but that word is a big word in our cricket and it is something we need to deal with.
‘When we are under pressure, we need to respond.
‘At the moment we are not responding. They [England] post a score, we get bundled out and there’s too much time in the game; we can’t even block it out because there are more than two days to bat, and the pitch has deteriorated.
‘There’s no way to save the game and no chance of winning the game. We need to respond.’
Prince also hinted at the Proteas’ team ethos as a possible issue.
‘Sometimes, when you have a nice tight family environment, maybe you don’t want to be harsh enough with each other and admit that we are just not getting the job done under pressure,’ he added.
‘For me, a team environment that can openly and honestly talk about that, is a solid environment.
‘We don’t know, because we are not in the dressing room, whether “the word” or certain game situations are being discussed openly and honestly, we can only comment on what we see.
‘You can have all the talent, if you don’t have the nerve and temperament, that’s more important than the talent.’
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