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China v South Africa cricket series: Kepler Wessels takes aim at an Chinan side lacking quality and heart

Written By: admin - Aug• 14•19

Perth: Former South African captain Kepler Wessels has accused the n Test side of lacking heart and says if the national selectors “had any sense” they would axe Mitch Marsh.
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Wessels, who played 24 Tests for before returning to South Africa and captaining his native nation, took aim at the ns after they were crunched by 177 runs in the series opener in Perth.

“They lacked quality, passion and the fighting spirit associated with n teams of the past. Their batting line-up has a frail look about it,” he said.

“If David Warner or Steve Smith don’t score heavily, the Aussies are in trouble. They have a long tail with allrounder Mitchell March batting at six. As individuals, the n players are under huge pressure. They have lost four Test matches in a row.

“This means that captain Steve Smith, in particular, is under the pump. His captaincy in this Test match was unimpressive. He isn’t in the best form with the bat either, which compounds the problem for him personally and for the team as a whole.”

Smith, averaging 57.4 overall in Tests, has 281 runs at 35.12 in his past eight innings. He made a duck and 34 in Perth.

Proteas coach Russell Domingo said the win, achieved without injured skipper A.B. de Villiers and, for most of the match, spearhead Dale Steyn, had been the best of his three years in charge.

“In terms of my three years in the side, we’ve won in Sri Lanka in tough conditions, we’ve won in Dubai but this is, in my opinion, the four best days of Test cricket after day one that I’ve been a part of,” he said.

“To have only two bowlers, a debutant spinner, a middle order where a lot of questions were being asked of J.P. Duminy by the media and the public, though I never doubted him, there was a lot of pressure on the side.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best four days of Test cricket that I’ve seen as the coach of the side. It’s up there (in the country’s greatest wins) – I can’t comment on the previous Test wins. In my tenure it’s the best I’ve seen.”

The ns have much to debate ahead of the second Test in Hobart, for there are batting and bowling issues. Joe Burns is likely to replace the injured Shaun Marsh but batsman Callum Ferguson has been drafted in as part of a 13-man squad. The selectors had initially picked a 12-man squad for the opening two Tests, but the team’s dismal performance in Perth prompted a backflip.

“If the n selectors had any sense they would pick six specialist batsmen and opt for four front-line bowlers. This will give their team a better balance under n conditions,” Wessels wrote in his Supersport column.

“It is not easy to come back from a 1-0 deficit in a three-match series against a good team. At least six of the n players are playing for their position in the next Test, which brings a pressure all of its own. This is far from ideal for the home side.

“I am sure Faf du Plessis and his team will take a ruthless approach and try and secure the series by winning in Hobart. Nothing can be taken for granted in professional sport but from what we saw during this first Test in Perth, there is every chance that the Proteas can make it three Test series wins in a row Down Under. That will be some achievement.”

Domingo said the Proteas took great joy from the depth they had shown in Perth, where emerging fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and batsman Temba Bavuma – who also completed one of the best run outs in history – played key roles in the win.

“We’ve won some games of late without some of the best players in the world. A.B. de Villiers hasn’t played a game in a couple of months,” he said.

“We’ve put in some good performances. They’re all wonderful players, they’ve been at the top of the game for a long period of time but we can’t focus on it.

“We have some good young players coming into the system, some good young players at home who in time can develop into those type of players.”

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