South Africa: Faf - There Are No Instructions for SA Groundsmen

Cape Town — Proteas captain Faf du Plessis says there have been no specific instructions to groundsmen during the ongoing Test series against England.

The Proteas won the Boxing Day Test at Centurion before losing at Newlands and then St George's park to go 2-1 down in the series, and while the hosts have been poor, they have perhaps not been helped by the nature of the wickets.

The strip in Port Elizabeth, especially, offered very little in the way of assistance to the seamers early in the contest with new ball specialist Vernon Philander considered ineffective.

Spin bowling was responsible for five of the nine English wickets to fall in the match and 10 of the 20 South African wickets and, speaking afterwards, Du Plessis acknowledged that he was surprised by what he had seen.

"This did surprise us in terms of how slow it was, even speaking to the groundsman, he was surprised with the lack of pace it had on the first day and also the amount of turn that it took," the skipper said.

"Normally spinners do play a role in PE, but generally not on day one and day two."

Test wickets were a strong talking point in South Africa during the Ottis Gibson era, where Du Plessis acknowledged that the leadership had perhaps gone too far in requesting seam friendly wickets in a three-match Test series against India in 2018.

The third match of that series, at the Wanderers, was very nearly abandoned due to the dangerous nature of the wicket.

These days, however, it seems that Du Plessis is having less of a say in terms of how pitches are prepared.

"As I said at the beginning of the summer, there was no clear message to and groundsmen around the country about something specific," he said.

"It was a case of just getting good cricket wickets."

The series will now move to the Wanderers for the fourth and final Test, where it has historically been quick and bouncy and a strip that offers a lot to the quicks.

South Africa, of course, will go into that match without the suspended Kagiso Rabada.

- Compiled by Lloyd Burnard

Source: Sport24

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