Cape Town - The Proteas will be eager to build on from where they left off in the drawn opening Test in Durban when they take on New Zealand in the second match starting at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday.
The Proteas made a strong statement with the ball in response to a disappointing performance with the bat and will be looking to start strongly in what has become an all-important series-decider.
Proteas seamer, Vernon Philander, believes maintaining consistency to build up pressure will be his go-to operative regardless of the conditions, which are unknown given the time of the year. Philander will want to continue with the form he showed in his brief six-over spell, alongside his partner, Dale Steyn, who was equally effective.
“Playing at Centurion is great, we have had good success here in the past,” he said in Centurion on Thursday. “ We are looking forward to it as a seam attack, it is early season, we don’t know what to expect to be honest, we don’t usually play cricket at this time of the year. There will be a little bit there for the bowlers so we are excited to get going.
“We have formed a good partnership over the last few years,” he said of himself and Steyn. “ I think for me it’s about going back to what I have been doing successfully, that’s about hitting the top of off stump with the odd bouncer,” he joked. “ For me it’s about creating the pressure from the other end, and also still obviously looking to strike as well. Hopefully we can continue with the partnership for many more years to come.”
From a batting point of view, Proteas batsman, Temba Bavuma, says the line-up has taken responsibility for their failed starts, and expects a higher conversion rate after the performance in Durban. Bavuma looked set after absorbing the pressure from New Zealand’s bowlers, whom he felt ‘asked the right questions’, and is hoping to take that confidence into the match.
“It’s always pleasing to get some runs on the board,” he said of his 46. “We are privileged and blessed to do what we do but in the same breath I was quite disappointed that I wasn’t able to convert for the team. We ended up with around 270 and if I was able to make more from my start we could have ended up with 300.
“The top order sets up the game,” he explained. “ They kill that new ball which allows the middle order to come in and set the game up for the team. I have full faith in the incumbents in the top order roles and I’m sure in due time the guys will be putting up the numbers that we are accustomed to seeing.”