• Wanderers ‘will test batsmen’

    A result in the third Test at the Wanderers has been guaranteed by the groundsman as South Africa look to square the series against England.

    Predictably, thunderstorms have been forecast for almost every day of the Test, which starts on Thursday, but Bethuel Buthelezi told an English newspaper a result at the Bullring is ‘guaranteed’.

    Buthelezi is the new main groundsman of the Wanderers after taking over from Chris Scott in November last year. He worked as assistant under Scott for 22 years and is only the second black groundsman to prepare a Test pitch after Wilson Ngobese, the groundsman at Kingsmead in Durban.

    ‘I’m very happy with the pitch, but a little nervous because it is a big occasion,’ Buthelezi told SACricketmag.com. ‘We’ve left some grass on the surface so it should be quick with good bounce as usual. We’ve had rain every night for the last couple of days so the pitch isn’t too dry. There could be some turn later on in the match.’

    There has only been two draws in the last 16 Tests played at the Wanderers which has produced some riveting cricket across all formats over the years.

    Following in Scott’s footsteps, who worked at the ground for 43 years, is a big task, but the former groundsman told the Mail Online he is relaxed about the situation.

    ‘Bethuel has been my assistant for 22 years so I’m very relaxed and happy he’s the one who’s taking over from me,’ Scott said.

    Unlike the Newlands Test, which was resulted in a run fest on a flat wicket, the batsmen will face a much bigger challenge on traditionally one of the quickest wickets in the world.

    ‘I felt Newlands was a bit one-sided,’ Scott said. There’s nothing worse than watching cricket for five days and then it’s a draw. The feeling has always been here that you’re never actually in as a batsman. It’s a wicket that always gives the bowler something.

    ‘By day five it cracks up and becomes a bit of a lottery. To me 250-300 is a good first-innings score.’

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