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SA mustn’t gloss over flaws

2011-11-21 22:13

Comment: Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - Honesty and perhaps even some tough love if necessary... that’s what is needed in the Proteas’ post-mortem as they contemplate yet another series that got away, to the justified chagrin of their supporters.

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New coach Gary Kirsten is emphatically not the type to resort to panic and pronounced knee-jerk reaction to adversity, but with a bit of luck he will also not be shy to spiritedly, comprehensively address lingering shortcomings in South Africa’s Test-match cricket in the wake of Australia’s thrilling, series-sharing victory at the Wanderers on Monday.

I believe “lingering” is very much the operative word, because the charges he has inherited continue to fall conspicuously short in major home series, and it is quite obviously seriously impeding their quest to return to the top of the global pile.

That is four headline series in a row now where the Proteas have either played second fiddle or only drawn in their own habitat, so serious questions are fully entitled to be asked by both fans and critics.

The unpalatable sequence started when Graeme Smith’s side arguably were seduced too much by their own good press and bottle-clinking bonhomie after the wonderful 2-1 triumph in Australia in 2008/09, and then didn’t “pitch” in various respects for the immediate return series back home and surrendered by the same margin.

That was a really disappointing “better try to wriggle the cork back in the champagne bottle” moment, a bit in line with the old joke we took pleasure in dishing up in these parts - in reverse - after South Africa’s legendary ODI chase against the same foes in the “438” game.

Then they failed to see off England and India in successive series with 1-1 outcomes in 2009/10 and 2010/11.

And now comes this one, which many rightly had viewed as a golden opportunity to finally rip a tenacious monkey off the back by seeing off the Aussies (ranked only fourth on the ICC ladder) on our soil for the first time in post-isolation.

When South Africa eventually prevailed by a handsome eight wickets in the rollercoaster ride that was the Newlands first Test, and with only a highly lamentable lone further battle to follow at the Bullring, circumstances just seemed so ripe for the Proteas to break the bogey, didn’t they?

After all, Australian cricket is in the midst of an often awkward, vulnerable rebuilding phase after their extended all-conquering era, and there is a case for saying it may be many years before so glorious another opportunity comes along again to crack their shell.

So the failure to close out the series at the Wanderers, where so much was in their favour to do so, seemingly sends out a clear signal: something is still missing in a South African side that labours desperately to achieve consistency and a killer touch in the five-day arena.

Even if they had achieved the series success (whether by winning or drawing in Johannesburg), continued imperfections would have needed to be acknowledged: let’s not forget that the Proteas came within a whisker of following on before they battled back for the remarkable win at Newlands.

But not getting over the series line anyway only makes even more starkly apparent now the Proteas’ difficulty in becoming a true machine in Tests in the manner of, say, the great West Indian side of the 1980s or the Aussies of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

There’s absolutely no doubt in my own mind that “should be doing better” remains a very necessary element of any South African report card.

Why do they struggle to string together even two good performances on the trot? Do they really have the mental and physical hunger to get to the pinnacle and stay there?

Do they just not actually appreciate how good they should be as a unit, given the various stellar individual resources at their disposal?

Harsh? Hardly, I think: keep firmly in mind that the nucleus of this particular Proteas side has been together for a very long time.

The top seven batsmen in the current line-up boast a weighty, combined tally of 603 Test appearances - you wouldn’t necessarily have believed that had you watched their fatally rushed and impatient first innings at Wanderers - whilst the country also retains comfortably the best-performing fast bowler in the format in Dale Steyn, backed up by the emerging menace offered by Morne Morkel and now the latest revelation Vernon Philander.

With apologies to the traditional sign in the Chinese take-away shop, “Please be patient, good food takes a little longer to prepare”, that sort of plea doesn’t cut it any longer in terms of the national Test cricket team: they’ve had time enough together yet simply can’t seem to deliver on-field fare of a routinely lofty quality.

It is right that we laud Australia for a massively gutsy fourth-innings effort to win at the Wanderers, breaking some records in the process - their achievement was so impressive that there is no special cause to curse any clear-cut ineptitude or shortcoming by the opposition in the field in this particular instance.

But the great merit of the Baggy Greens’ effort is also not enough to stave off something that is all too apparent: South African under-achievement at home has become a dangerously entrenched phenomenon, not a fad.

Are they going to be humble and realistic enough to realise that?

We wait to see if there is truly constructive remedial action, whatever that may require ...

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing
 

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Comments
  • Gareth - 2011-11-21 23:00

    @Rob - What suggestions do you have? The article raises many questions but fails to make a stand as to where the answer lies. Make a stand and have a say about those changes, but writing an article full of questions doesn't really make for good reading. Personally I believe that a certain amount of accountability has to land in two departments and that is captaincy and our top order. It is the top orders responsibility to make sure they kick on, whatever it takes and not fall apart like we did in three of the four innings we batted in. Smith has got one century and suddenly he is "back in form" but failed in the other three - not good enough and just ask Rudolph what he had to do to get "back in form". Smith never stuck around and his captaincy is not, in my opinion, what we need. There is no space for baggage, you are either in form, or at least close to it or you aren’t. Go prove you are in the SS Series though, not realise you aren’t quite there in a test against Australia where the supporter gets to enjoy another missed chance at home. Smith has not led the team to anything in terms of major competition wins and maybe he should step down and concentrate on being the spectacular batsmen he should be. SA needs him to make runs, it is that simple. How long does he get until its not ok anymore?

      mfrater - 2011-11-21 23:41

      With you 100% on Smith and the poor captaincy. But what some seem to be forgetting is that CSA must take a bit of flack too. Can we blame the players entirely? They haven't had the chance to play any first class cricket from a long, long time. I mean even Boucher (once my favourite player), can you expect the guy to go out there and whack a 50 when he hadn't played a game of this nature for 16 months! Our players are rusty and for that I blame CSA, not the players. More time at the crease should help, lets hope. Bring on 15 December.

      Dirk - 2011-11-22 05:46

      Problems: 1) Captaincy 2) lower-middle order, 6,7 and 8 (as batsmen) Keep in mind that the Ozzies had a depleted bowling attack and SA lost the test in their 2nd innings, batting. If they had only 50 more runs, the outcome would have been different.

      John - 2011-11-22 08:54

      Yes agree - Rob asks a lot of questions. Poor application cost them the series. An inexplicable collapse in the 1st innings which Kirsten descibed as "arrogant" was what cost us. I don't think any major changes are needed. Maybe a tweek here and there eg Dumminy for Prince is a no brainer & maybe Boucher's time is up. We have good management in place and I believe we were underdone comming into this series. Let's see what happens in 2012.

      tuckytatham - 2011-11-22 10:09

      Could that not be seem as the point of the article. We as a nation and as a team have been left with more questions than answers after this series. Why couldn't we shut out the series? Why didn't the senior players stand up? Were Tahir and Rudolph the correct selections? One emphatic answer we recieved was the rise of Vernon Philander as a test bowler which is very encouraging! Ultimately the blame must fall somewhere and that must be CSA for their incompatence to organise a sufficient test series where these questions could be answered.

  • Ryan - 2011-11-22 00:20

    To win you have to believe that you can. Bye far one of the best teams on paper. But just don't have that winning culture that Aus brings to the field, get rid of a few coaches and get a cycologist in there.It all in there heads. Believe in yourselves and your team to a point of no doubt and you will win. It's not ok to keep saying we lost but we played well chin up boys. You lost because you are loosers that doubt yourselfs.

  • Pieter - 2011-11-22 01:07

    Seems to me the choker label has now draped itself around our test cricket as well. We have excellent batsmen who can score centuries, but they seldom do - more often they throw their wickets away with rash shots. We have excellent bowlers as well, but they do fire on all cylinders - if one is on; the rest are off. This has nothing to do with not having played much cricket recently. They are just as likely to tell you they have played too much cricket whenever they lose. The real problem is attitude and commitment. Amla was out of form but he showed some backbone when it counted. Philander is a rookie but he bowled like a seasoned veteran. Why could the others not do the same? We should have walked over this Australian team and we did not; all the games were always in the balance. Unless this team wakes up we are going to have a l-o-o-o-n-g season ahead of us! I really hope Gary Kirsten knows some magic spell to chance the general attitude inside the team!

      Robert - 2011-11-22 08:11

      Proteas "CHOKED" It was really sad to watch Philander trying to win the test by himself. No doubt he will learn the finer art and details of "CHOKING"

      Peter - 2011-11-22 08:28

      I disagree with you, there was no choking this time, it was just a very close series played by two not so great teams, but not chokers this time.

  • Ruan - 2011-11-22 01:36

    ....lads....relax....it's only a game !! And well done to both teams for providing excellent entertainment......and value for money (in my case my SKYSPORTS subscription)....i don't like cricket....I ,LOVE IT !

      Abri - 2011-11-22 11:57

      Show me a good loser - and I'll show you a continual loser. And that is exactly what the Proteas have become!

  • Gareth - 2011-11-22 02:55

    I would replace Kallis,Boucher,Prince and Morne Morkel and try out new players in their place that's been waiting in the wings for a while to come in.I would play Jacques Rudolph at number 3 instead of opening our batting,and rather use a right-hand batsmen to open the batting instead of two lefthanders so as to rotate the strike.Let Amla open the batting for us. Next I would take a good,hard and long look at the scheduling of South African cricket and the match series' coming up which was way to short in my opinion,only two test matches yet we play 3 ODI's? The Proteas had 309 days off between this Series against Australia and the last one against India.That's too much time off and too much emphasis given on playing in the IPL with earning all that big money and what have you,hence that's why we can't win a test series against any of the major test playing nations.Where is your priority CSA?Start refocusing on our scheduling of test matches and get more people coming to the grounds aswell for test matches as the attendances was pathetic at test level. CSA should look at giving families with kids and younger people free entrance for at least one of the five days of test match cricket.Its about enjoyment aswell you know not just money making!

      jon.allcock - 2011-11-22 04:29

      Thank heavens the future of South African cricket is not in your hands....!

      bernard.ingram - 2011-11-22 04:49

      Totally agreed jon, if tony was a selector the other selectors would have ignored his input!

      Neal - 2011-11-22 06:51

      Tony - Kallis is still our best batter. Dropping him will leave a HUGE gap in the batting lineup. The problem with the Proteas is a mental one, They win one match then they think they win the series.

      Gareth - 2011-11-22 07:31

      I don't wanna sound disrespectful to Kallis in any way,shape or form because the guy is immense and truly phenomenal for what he'd done for South African cricket,but is there a very strong reason why Gary and Allan Donald still keep him in our team.Kallis is 36 and good with the bat and the slips but his not getting any younger and has slid back in taking game changing wickets for us,so why can't someone else step up the mark and take his position?Are we out of Kallis' type of calibre players let standing in South Africa that we don't have any geniune allrounders to call on? Australia is a team rebuilding and on Thursday or Friday this week the Australian selection committee helds it meeting in which either Ricky Ponting,Brad Haddin,Mitchell Johnson,Phil Hughes or Micheal Hussey will all to be dropped apparently for their the two-Test series against New Zealand to make way for good players from the Western Australian Cricket Association. So why can't South Africa rebuild a new team for the Sri Lanka series next month?Why can't we bring in Lonwabo Tsotsobe in place of Morne Morkel as we don't have a left arm pace bowler in the team and who knows he might do for us what Zaheer Khan did for India.And perhaps give Heino Kuhn a chance with the gloves insted of inconsistent with the bat Mark Boucher! Australia believed at one time that they were the only team with good players in it and were ruled by what was known as new professionalism.They will never be a hopeless team.

      Peter - 2011-11-22 08:39

      Tony are on the same page or the same planet with your statements, just another idiot withn useless statements

      Manus - 2011-11-22 09:06

      @tony: I don't agree with you on Kallis and Morkel. Kallis is in this side, I believe, primarily for his batting. He is still one of the top bats in the world - with de Villiers and Amla the nucleus of our batting. As for Morkel - what he's done over the previous season or two and so far this one speaks for itself. Yes, Boucher is probably not up there any more, and Duminy would be in my side ahead of Prince. I also think that Tahir has been underbowled - what is the use of an attacking spinner if you hold him back as long as we did towards the end of the Australian 2nd innings? Maybe we should have a rethink of our tactics in using him - seems we've been out of attacking spinners for too long. Let's leave it to Kirsten and co, though - I'm convinced that they will turn our approach around and build up confidence in the team and individual players.

      Derrick - 2011-11-22 09:24

      Oh great !! now we want to drop the 3rd Ranked bowler in the world & possibly the greatest all rounder of all time. That was an awesome test & unfortunately we got the wrong end. Dale had one of his least productive innings which was the difference . Agreed re Boucher but where is his replacement- nobody has stood up at this level. Otherwise too soon to panic !!

  • dave.cohen2 - 2011-11-22 05:39

    Agreed ... rather a disappointing result ... but what a fantastic advertisement for TEST CRICKET. We can argue that this one should replace that one and so on. I have never been a Smith fan, but he really came across well in the post match interview when he heaped praise on the Aussies for their fightback. If I had the chance I would travel the country to watch every day of a five-match series against the Aussies. We probably have picked the best available players. I would still pick Prince ahead of Duminy. JP does not have BMT and has shown very little since his sensational start to international cricket. Unfortunately Boucher may have reached his "Sell By Date". He has served this country with distinction. Don't write him off just yet. Just like Ricky Ponting, he has what it takes to prove his critics wrong. WELL DONE PROTEAS and AUSSIES FOR A REALLY GREAT ABRIDGED SERIES!!! Not so well done to the ICC for having given these two great adversaries only two tests! I am booking my tickets (five days worth) for the Sri Lanka test in Durban later today.

  • Claude - 2011-11-22 05:58

    I can only agree with most of the views expressed in the comments. The article does not offer any solutions but perhaps Mr Houwing has wisely refrained from expressing any action on this front because he does not have the answers. CSA is certainly culpable in not doing what it should to prepare the Proteas for the series. It is a very questionable body that in my opinion should resign en mass and allow new and untarnished people who have only cricked at heart to take over. Unfortunately this will not happen as all these sorts of positions require people who are political animals in order to be elected. I don't believe more than 1% politicians have it in their nature to act honestly and selflessly for the cause to which they have been elected.

  • Mark - 2011-11-22 06:14

    I think you have to give Kirsten a chance to build the side. FFS, we draw a test series and people moan, we loose and people moan, we win and we're happy for a few days then we moan about who should and shouldn't be in the team. Aussie played well on the final day and there was very little venom in our bowlers, 4 days before that they boys played quite well yet STILL the public will moan like a bunch of old ladies. THere's probably a good reason for them failing when a win should be obvious. Maybe the pressure to satisfy a far too critical audience is a place to start.

      Betsy - 2011-11-22 07:34

      Thank goodness for a balanced comment! It was a brilliant game and the Aussies fought back well - the game of cricket was the winner, which is as it should be! Win or lose, support your team as negative energy has no place anywhere. Proteas rule - WELL DONE, GUYS, FOR A WELL PLAYED GAME!

  • Tshivhombela Fhatuwani - 2011-11-22 06:41

    Our middle order just add numbers and that's where we lost the second series. Should they have added 50 runs, we would have won the series.

  • fcocquyt - 2011-11-22 06:57

    Test cricket was surely proven not to be dead but the best cricket of all. Only 2 test how can we ever have a proper outcome with that especially with the weather playing a big part. CSA why isn't our boys playing more intl. like the rugby players ???? Steyn swing that bat a little bit less and you can become an all rounder keep at it and welcome Philander keep at it.

  • Gareth - 2011-11-22 07:30

    I don't wanna sound disrespectful to Kallis in any way,shape or form because the guy is immense and truly phenomenal for what he'd done for South African cricket,but is there a very strong reason why Gary and Allan Donald still keep him in our team.Kallis is 36 and good with the bat and the slips but his not getting any younger and has slid back in taking game changing wickets for us,so why can't someone else step up the mark and take his position?Are we out of Kallis' type of calibre players let standing in South Africa that we don't have any geniune allrounders to call on? Australia is a team rebuilding and on Thursday or Friday this week the Australian selection committee helds it meeting in which either Ricky Ponting,Brad Haddin,Mitchell Johnson,Phil Hughes or Micheal Hussey will all to be dropped apparently for their the two-Test series against New Zealand to make way for good players from the Western Australian Cricket Association. So why can't South Africa rebuild a new team for the Sri Lanka series next month?Why can't we bring in Lonwabo Tsotsobe in place of Morne Morkel as we don't have a left arm pace bowler in the team and who knows he might do for us what Zaheer Khan did for India.And perhaps give Heino Kuhn a chance with the gloves insted of inconsistent with the bat Mark Boucher! Australia believed at one time that they were the only team with good players in it and were ruled by what was known as new professionalism.They will never be a hopeless team.

      Brent - 2011-11-22 07:46

      i disagree with you. i actually believe that kallis has become a problem. We actually have amazing players and an even more incredible team who has been using kallis as a crutch. I do believe that once he goes, the team will rise out of this choker flop mess and start winning wc and so on. Don't get me wrong kallis is an alles but to me gibbs was the unbelievable. I'm actually sad that gibbs wasnt given the oppertunity to captain the side for even a little while because of his ability to achieve the impossible. Kallis may be our strongest player but he is definately the chink in the sa armour.

  • Andre - 2011-11-22 07:35

    Very dissapointing. Although it was 2 great test matches. Surely SA must see this whole series as a failure. My reasons are: 1) Drawing the T20 series at home 2) Losing the ODI series at home 2) Losing test series at home 3) No real sponsor 4) Players like Smith, Kallis, Prince Boucher, and Morkel did not bring it, and im afraid Boucher and Prince should not be there. 5) Boucher dropped Haddin early which should've maybe given us the series win 6) Poor very poor captaincy by Smith, his field placing were wrong, and when to use his bowlers were totally wrong 7) Once again we couldn't rap up the tail which we failed to do against England as well a few years back. 8) Im sorry but the Proteas do not shake off the chokers tag and should be branded the chocker until we win a series whitewash for me

      Peter - 2011-11-22 08:33

      A statement last week was that against Australia, that on paper we had the better team and still do not beat them. Just remember cricket is played on grass and not on paper.

      Deon - 2011-11-22 08:55

      We improved on the previous meeting in SA where we lost 2-1, so it is not all bad. We did not choked, they were just better than us on the last day.

  • Brent - 2011-11-22 07:39

    i think smith should be dropped and prince should be put up front with rudolph

      Dhirshan - 2011-11-22 08:31

      a has-been prince who is like 60 years old compared to a 30 year old who has a test average of 50+ in almost 100 games and 1 record after another???

  • Ridwaan - 2011-11-22 07:40

    i agree that some of the boys have been there too long and are only going through the motions. The problems is with us, the south african sport fans. We enjoy winning so much much that we adore...wait for it....WORSHIP any form of winning. The heroes end up forgetting why they are being worshiped, and they can do no wrong after that. We have to understand that sportsmen like Kallis, Tendulkar, Lara, are freaks of nature. For the rest, the expiry date is set, and we have to except that. Boucher, Smith and Kallis have been there too long. Only Kallis deserves his place because he is a freak of nature and are still contributing above average. Imran Khan needed to be in the team two years ago in place of Smith. De Villiers needs to understand he is a good batsman but he is not the best in the wold. And no test team can afford the luxury of two wicket keepers on the field. So he has to take the gloves and make space for either, one more bowler or batsman, by dropping Bouch. Sorry Bouch you had your days and it was good. If De Villiers express even the slightest KP-ishness to this suggestion, then he better prepare his bags while he practice to kneel in front of KP's majesty. Winning includes skills, teamwork, strategy and ATTITUDE. Considering that we have Parnell, and Tsotsobe sitting out, indicates the amount of skill we have around. But we need the attitude of Harris in this team.

      Peter - 2011-11-22 08:36

      Harris is a nothing, I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW HE IS EVEN IN THE TEAM SETUP. A WASTE OF SPACE.

  • Peter - 2011-11-22 08:26

    I really think that the team tried as hard as the could against Australia and it was one of the best series thou too short, I have seen for quite awhile, while both teams are not the greatest, both rebuilding I am sure they will really improve for a lot of great cricket between these teams. First we have to get rid of the management and start afresh, the saying new broom sweeps clean applies, get rid of the crooks Majola and all his cronies and I am sure things are bound to get better.

  • abraham.page - 2011-11-22 08:33

    I’m really not in a blame game this morning so I will stick to some constructive criticism. Firstly the captain: Smith although a good leader has never really showed good tactical thinking to turn a game in his teams favor. I’m pretty sure he performed his other duties as captain well, but when you need a good tactician who can fabricate something out of almost nothing; he does simply not have that skill. The late Hansie was a genius at this (even with the shady past) and I’m yet to see a thinking captain for RSA with this ability. How many games did Hansie’s ingenuity win (to those that can remember). Even if you counted all the fingers and toes in your house hold it would not come to it. Dale Styen: Looks like the batters have worked him out by now. He will have to come up with something new to surprise them or learn how to read the batters and the pitch better. In order to get them out. Morne Morkel: the guy is just ordinary; if he don’t step up a bit more he can lose his place. Which would be shame because he seems to have a lot of potential. Boucher: well AB should take the gloves in the tests so we can get an extra batter in to protect that long tail. As for ODI’s are concerned AB should stay in the field where he can create pressure and stop runs in the field. I mean why you would put one of the best fielders in the world with gloves.

  • tuckytatham - 2011-11-22 09:42

    Every great test side works around a few of their outstanding players, and we are no different. We work around Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis and I think the problem arises when we place too much emphasis on their performance and when they don't perform we tend to capitulate. Case in point yesterday, Steyn took one wicket (given Philander bowled exceptionally) and we lost the test. We have got to a situation where the other players cannot ride on the backs of these two because, as is cricket, players peak and trough at different times. Boucher needs to think about his position because he was horribly underdone with the bat, a number 7 is a crucial position in test match cricket and the ability of your 7 to be able to bat - and score runs, is imperitive! Rudolph must give way for Peterson again I feel, as with Tsotsobe he falls into the "didn't do anything wrong but got dropped category." In Rudolphs defense he has only played two tests so it would be unfair to get rid of him now. See how he does against Sri Lanka and then make the choice. As Rob points out, with the side and the experience we have we should be winning home series 2-0, simple as that!

  • llewellyn.saville - 2011-11-22 09:51

    Reading all these posts and I agree that many of our better players did not bring their best to the game. Perhaps Smith could have made better choices as captain. But there is no disputing that this was the most nail biting and exciting test series we have played in in a long time. We won battles we thought we should only have lost and so even though no-one won the war, I'm proud of the boys because there were times we exposed the Aussies as the fools they are.

  • dylan.koen - 2011-11-22 09:54

    A few things that I would like to add. Smith made the comment in the post-match interview that considering that they had not played Test Cricket for 7 months, they should be satisfied. That comment was totally out of line. SA vs Aus with a lot of SuperSport Series cricket in the lead up that only Philander and Rudolph played in. Surely CSA could focus more on practice matches than reducing the Test Series for the sake of Once Day Cricket revenue. The sooner that lot are made accountable, the better. As for Smith, I was shocked to see him only bowl Imran Tahir after nearly 30 overs play. He is far too defensively minded. As for the middle order, surely it must be time for Prince and Boucher to go? I just wish that we had a good replacement for Prince, Duminy will be found wanting against Swann and Co in England next year, for my part, he does not possess the necessary skill against off-spin and short-bowling. England will relish him softening our middle order further. As for Boucher, well he has not scored runs for ages. I would throw my hat in with Dave Vilas from the Cobras and look to get Quentin de Kock from the Lions as our long-term replacement. Somebody needs to give old Bouch the tap on the shoulder and say, Mate, its been good but your time is up.

  • Sabiha - 2011-11-22 10:20

    thats the game of cricket one team has to win pure luck the aussies won, had dale steyn held on cummins caught * bowled catch , SA fans would have been praising the proteas, smith tried his best.

  • Mark - 2011-11-22 10:38

    One wonders what would have happened if the tables were turned and SA was batting on the final day in that situation. The Aussies always seem to have that mental belief to carry them over the line in that situation. Just look at their batting after tea. I can't believe Smith said he was satisfied with the bowling in the final day. Apart from Philander, no one else came to the party. Was surprised that Smith replaced the wicket taker with Tahir. He did that in the England tests as well that were drawn last year when he changed bowlers for the last over. For me, Smith's demeanour on the final afternoon wasn't intense enough. Also the soft dismissals in the first innings were unforgivable. You just can't give the Aussies a sniff which we did in giving up the 30 run lead. Most of all I'm worried about our domestic setup. There is zero interest in the Supersport Series which has taken a complete back seat. Remember the 80's when it was a hotly contested competition. This is where our new players will come from and if there is little interest in it, players won't have that same intensity when coming into the test team. Cricket South Africa really needs to get its act together, to plan for the future and heighten the profile of first class cricket and test cricket. There was zero marketing and hype for this series and this was reflected in the less than full stadiums (other factors also playing a role). Overall, really disappointed we couldn't pull off the series win.

  • Jeffrey - 2011-11-22 11:14

    I think the problem lies in the preparation of the Proteas. Case in point was the one day series where the series came down to the final game. In Clarkes interview before the game he stated that the Australians had uped there intensity in training and trained as if it was a final. our boys, well our boys said that they didnt change anything in training. We all know what happened then!!! I am a huge fan of the proteas, have always been and always will be but from my viewpoint they look lethargic and do not seem at any time to want to put in any extra effort to become the best in the world! We have the talent, unquestionably! but it seems everyday in the Proteas camp is a holiday! time to put in the extra yards boys!!

  • Corné - 2011-11-22 12:44

    We have become to reliant on Steyn to take 3-5 wickets per innings, if he doesnt we struggle to bowl teams out. As a strike bowler Smith did not bowl Tahir nearly enough, he ripped through the Aus tail in the frist innings and Smith took to long to bowl him in the second, no matter how new the ball was. Mark Boucher is useless with the bat, when last did he make a significant contribution to the scoreline, and yet we keep playing him. How many times in the modern era have we seen the difference between winning and losing a test match lies in the ability of the lower order to contribute. Any wicket keeper in the country would be a better investment at the moment than keeping on playing someone who just keeps on losing his wicket cheaply.

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