South Africa is full of hope and expectation as the Proteas seek to level the four-match series at Old Trafford in the Test starting Friday. Having gone down in the series 2-1 at The Oval, the South African line-up will be looking to improve on bowling and batting performances in the upcoming match.
South African opening bowler, Vernon Philander, commented that the team weren’t at their best as he himself endured a stomach bug causing him to spend the night in hospital on a drip on the second night of the Test.
“We let ourselves down with the bat in the first innings, so we’re looking forward to correcting those mistakes in this one and hoping to level the series,” said Philander in review of the third Test match.
Philander’s tight line and length was missed in the third test as he was forced to leave the field at regular intervals and wasn’t bowling at his usual best.
“I’m obviously quite an important part of the lineup,” said the fast bowler. “Bowling at 70% or 80% I could feel that my intensity was missed. If you can’t go at 100% and the conditions are suited for you as well, it was really frustrating that [I] couldn’t be out there and bowl longer spells.”
South African supporters will be pleased that Philander is back to full strength and will be hoping he’ll be doing damage to the England batting line-up in the final Test.
England debutant, Toby Roland-Jones, who emerged a hero of the third Test having claimed four wickets in his first 33 deliveries in Test cricket, commented that England have got to focus on the task at hand as they look to emulate their clinical performance at The Oval.
The series, poised at 2-1, has seen England win handsomely at Lord’s before losing desperately at Trent Bridge before pulling off another emphatic victory at The Oval. Another similar fluctuation could see South Africa square the series.
“There’s been a bit spoken about how this team has responded to winning games and trying to stop that up and down nature of results,” said Roland-Jones. “This game seems like as good a time as any to try to change that and really cement the series win.”
With England needing only to avoid losing to seal a win in the series, Roland-Jones said “I approach every game the same way. It’s a case of just reverting back to type and starting from scratch again.”
With the series hanging in the balance, South Africa will need an injection of energy to what was a lethargic performance at The Oval. England’s three debutants added a certain element of freshness to the side that perhaps is lacking from the Proteas camp as there is little competition for place in the side. With the team picking itself for the line-up, the Proteas will be striving to be more clinical in their performance in their batting by building partnerships and in their bowling by keeping England under sustained spells of pressure.
The action of the fourth and final Test of the series begins on Friday, 4 August 2017.
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