SA’s batting needs knocking into shape for World Cup
Coach Ottis Gibson’s bowling headache looks to be over, while the Proteas' batting has been less convincing
Now that SA’s bowling attack has more than reinforced their well-known abilities‚ it is the batting line-up that needs to state its intentions in the next two ODIs.
Adelaide (Friday) and Hobart (Sunday)‚ the next destinations in the short Australian limited overs junket‚ should be better than the green Perth Stadium springboard of a surface that unsettled Australia’s creaky batting order.
The small chase put the difficult conditions out of the game and the bright start between Reeza Hendricks and Quinton de Kock ended the game quite early as a contest.
But surety is not something SA’s various batting units have provided since the retirement of AB de Villiers.
While the Sri Lankan ODI series was a qualified success‚ 300 was only crossed once, even though the chasing was convincing in the first two ODIs.
The Zimbabwe series‚ played on unseasonably spicy early season tracks‚ provided no answers from a batting perspective and only served to reinforce SA’s superior bowling.
Ottis Gibson’s bowling headache looks one that has been resolved and it is just a case of the various contenders remaining injury free.
The batting has been less convincing even though Hashim Amla’s injury-enforced unavailability has given the lesser batting lights an opportunity to stake their claim.
Hendricks in particular was solid but not spectacular, while young Aiden Markram also wasted a start.
The joy of this series is that Australia are using their best bowling resources‚ ones that are carrying an unrealistic burden because of their weak batting.
Even though the surfaces in England for the 2019 World Cup will be different compared to the pitches in Australia‚ the pace — men from Down Under will provide a different test that only England and India can throw at SA from a bowling perspective.
Australia are also undecided in the spin department‚ which also throws SA’s batting test into some difficulty. However‚ a test is a test either way and it is time for SA’s batting to answer the questions that lie ahead as the next ODI engagements will only be in January against Pakistan.
The immediate matter is for the last two ODIs to be used as notice that the batsmen are starting to assert themselves.