Proteas bowling coach Charl Langeveldt has welcomed the fact that Sri Lanka’s batsman went after them in Tuesday’s fourth one-day international (ODI) in Cape Town and said he expected more of the same in Friday’s fifth and final match at SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Langeveldt was quick to point out there was room for improvement but he said the brutal Sri Lankan onslaught in the first 20 overs of the eventual 40-run win at Newlands was a necessary learning curve for the young bowlers, who lacked a spearhead.
However‚ he also hinted at Morné Morkel making a comeback for the Titans in the Momentum One Day Cup, which starts next week.
"Because we’re playing with three bowling all-rounders‚ I feel there’s space for a genuine strike bowler. Morné Morkel starts playing in a few weeks’ time‚ which is a good sign for us and he’s always had a good ODI record‚" Langeveldt said.
"There’s a spot open and we’re looking for a strike bowler because Dale Steyn doesn’t look like he’ll make it.
"We’re still at a stage where we’re trying to find an opening partner for Kagiso Rabada but the nice thing about Tuesday was that we got tested and we’ve had some easy sailing in the past couple of days.
"The Cape Town game was an eye-opener for us because they started very well‚ which has been the case in the past two games as well.
"This is the kind of challenge we’ve been looking for, because New Zealand is going to be a different test."
With a whitewash on the horizon‚ testing different combinations and resting players has been the modus operandi for the Proteas think-tank.
The Highveld tracks have not been as batting friendly as one would have expected‚ but the wet summer and high water table has had a lot to do with that. Langeveldt hoped SuperSport Park groundsman Rudolph du Preez had prepared a surface that would test his bowlers.
"We haven’t quite been up to standard in the first test so I’m going to be quite hard on that … I’ll give them a five in that perspective but coming back in the games‚ they showed a lot of character so I’ll give them a seven. But if you want to be challenging for tournaments‚ you need to be an eight or a nine, Langeveldt said.
"We want to take wickets in the middle period of the innings because it’s the bowlers who win you games.
"The pitch looks like a normal SuperSport Park, which has a lot of runs in it. I expect the bowlers to be under pressure but I hope it’s going to be a good contest. I’d like to see the bowlers defending a good score."