What Kepler Wessels and Shaun Pollock had to say on SuperSport about the first day’s play of the Boxing Day Test between South Africa and England.
On South Africa’s performance
Wessels: ‘Pleased by the way Dale Steyn bowled. We weren’t sure how he was going to bounce back, considering the last time he bowled was in Mohali, so we thought he make take some time to get into the series and start putting performances on the board. But he bowled really well today. He used the new ball pretty well and then got a very important wicket [James Taylor] late in the day as well.
‘If you look at the day’s play, South Africa won the toss, they put England into bat and they’ll probably be a little disappointed they didn’t get more wickets after they had the initial ascendancy. In the end, a pretty even day.’
Pollock: ‘They had England on 49-3 so they would have hoped to pushed through. England have a long batting line-up with Broad coming in at No 10 which means they’ve got some real depth. There wasn’t really much to work with. The pitch didn’t play as we thought it might. I didn’t see much movement, the pace wasn’t really there.
‘South Africa are going to need some quick wickets in the morning to put England under pressure. It was a tough day’s Test cricket.’
On the Proteas bowling unit
Pollock: ‘Dale Steyn was good. Morne Morkel always looks like he has that ability to pick up wickets, but he doesn’t seem to string the spells together as consistently as maybe he could. Kyle Abbott, I thought, was off colour today. From what I’ve seen, he has been really impressive; whenever he has been given a chance, he has impressed. But on his home ground he sort of just lacked a little bit of something today.
‘Personally I like to see guys get longer spells, six or seven overs, let them get into their spells, let them work out what is going on and try to make an impact that way. Hashim [Amla] was keen to try things, get different people in and see if he could make breakthroughs, but on a surface that wasn’t really helping, it didn’t look like inroads were going to be made. It looked like they were just going through the motions hoping for a mistake. That is something they need to turn around on day two.’
On doing something different
Wessels: ‘Possibly using Morne Morkel a bit earlier. Maybe even with the new ball, give him a full go and later on in the partnership as well. I think what was affecting him was he changed ends all the time and we know it’s difficult for bowlers to adjust. I don’t he ever got into his rhythm and that was part of the problem for South Africa. He lacked that penetration that we know he’s got.
‘It’s important they start well on Sunday with the older ball and get at least a wicket before the second new ball becomes available.’