Pakistan coach Arthur blasts Newlands, SA pitches

2019-01-05 07:14
Mickey Arthur (Gallo)
Mickey Arthur (Gallo)

Cape Town - Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur believes that the Newlands wicket in Cape Town is not fit to host Test cricket.

It was a bold claim from the former Proteas mentor, who looked on as South Africa carved out 382/6 in their first innings of day two of the second Test on Friday. 

It leaves the hosts with a massive lead of 205 with four wickets remaining after Pakistan were rolled for just 177 in their first effort. 

Conditions on Friday were certainly easier than they were in the opening session of day one, but there were still numerous stoppages throughout the day as batsmen, particularly skipper Faf du Plessis, took numerous blows to the body and the hands that required medical attention. 

The concern, once again, is the inconsistent bounce with some balls spitting up off a length. 

Du Plessis (103), Temba Bavuma (75), Aiden Markram (78) and Quinton de Kock (55*) were still good enough to get runs on the board, while Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed's 56 in their first innings was a gritty effort. 

But, despite the fact that 259 runs were scored on day two for the loss of just four wickets, Arthur used his post-day press conference to air his views on what he perceived to be the poor quality of South African wickets.

"I'm a little bit disappointed, to be honest," he said.

"I haven't been back to South Africa in a cricketing capacity since 2010 and the standard of the wickets - the wicket we had at Centurion and the wicket here - I think haven't been good enough for Test cricket."

Arthur said he understood that home sides would always prepare wickets to suit their own strengths, but that South Africa had gone too far in recent times. 

He stopped short of calling the Newlands strip dangerous, but he was clearly not happy. 

"With South Africa, particularly when you play a subcontinent team, you're always going to ask for bounce and pace. I think both wickets have been very weighted in favour of the bowlers, and obviously because it is home ground advantage. We get the ball to turn a little bit in the UAE," he said.

"I just think it is inconsistent. I think there were seven stoppages today for balls that hit cracks and the physio came running out and we're talking about day two.

"I understand that if it is happening on days four and five because that's what happens in Test cricket; wickets deteriorate significantly and so they should, but it shouldn't make your first innings a lottery and I think that batting here in the first innings is extremely tough.

"I still believe in a good contest in Test cricket but, again, we aren't at home so we don't have a say. I do think the wickets have got significantly worse since I coached in 2010."

Wickets in South Africa have been under the spotlight for over a year now, and the conversation reached boiling point during last year's home series against India where the third and final Test against India at the Wanderers was very nearly abandoned due to the strip being dangerous.

Read more on:    proteas  |  mickey arthur  |  cape town  |  cricket


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