SA 'A' out for 4-day glory
Justin Ontong (Gallo Images)
Rustenberg - The respective South Africa A (SA A) and India A captains have expressed their desire to come out on top in the first unofficial four-day Test taking place at Olympia Park on Saturday. SA A will have fond memories of their 1-0 series victory over Australia A achieved at the venue, while India A come in with the momentum from their triumph in the ODI tri-series this week.
SA A captain, Justin Ontong, says the squad has moved on from the disappointing ODI campaign, and is satisfied with their preparation going into the first match: “ We are in a very good space as a unit, our four-day disciplines are where we want them to be. We are encountering new opposition, so it is a new challenge for us and also new opportunities for players to put in some noteworthy performances.
“We had a disappointing ODI series but in saying that I still think we played good cricket,” Ontong continued. “It was particularly hard for the bowlers on those sort of decks, but I think we took a lot of lessons from that experience.”
India A captain, Cheteshwar Pujara, is quietly confident his squad will be able to continue with their winning form, he said: “ Wining the ODI series has given us a confidence boost going into the four-day series. We played really well throughout that series except for a couple of close games against Australia that we lost.”
Both captains are expecting dry and bowler-friendly conditions at the home of the Impalas Cricket Club, and recent results suggest there will be a lot on offer for the spinners as the match progresses.
“We know this type of wicket is different from the HPC (Pretoria) wicket,” Ontong said. “As a batsman you are never in, the seamers and the spinners are also always in the game. It’s going to be a huge challenge for the batsmen to construct their innings and put on big scores. Patience is going to be key; we have to stick to our processes and try to outplay the opposition in that department.”
Pujara says his team are prepared for any type of wicket: “ If it turns it will be helpful for us because we are used to playing in turning conditions but let’s see how it will turn out; we know conditions in South Africa normally suit the fast bowlers. We will have a better idea of our playing XI once they have trained in the conditions.”
India Head Coach, Duncan Fletcher, will be touring with India A for both matches of the series.