South Africa looks for improved performance from bowling unit
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Player:GC Smith, MV Boucher, RT Ponting

DateLine: 5th March 2009


South Africa's bowlers will be under the spotlight in the second Test against Australia which starts at Kingsmead on Friday. South African captain Graeme Smith blamed the bowlers who he said were "not precise enough" in the first Test in Johannesburg, which Australia won by 162 runs. By contrast, an inexperienced Australian bowling attack were superb, maintaining consistent accuracy and not allowing South Africa's batsmen to get on top.


The Johannesburg defeat left South Africa needing to win both remaining matches to take over Australia's mantle as International Cricket Council Test champions. It is a predicament from which South Africa have extricated themselves twice in the past two home seasons, however.


In 2006/07 South Africa lost the first Test against India but won the next two Tests to take the series. They did the same against the West Indies last season. Australia, though, are likely to be a tougher proposition. Stung by losing a home series against South Africa earlier in the same season, they belied their underdog status with a clinical performance.


Captain Ricky Ponting said his team had worked hard and "talked a lot" after the home defeats. With only three days between matches, it was the turn of the South Africans to do some hard talking.


Wicketkeeper Mark Boucher revealed that there had been a no-holds-barred discussion in the Wanderers dressing room after the game. Boucher said the bowlers had been too loose in conceding 466 runs in the first innings, which was far too big a total on a lively pitch.


Kingsmead groundsman Wilson Ngobese said he had been able to prepare what he expected would be a good, hard pitch with an even covering of grass. The wicket has usually favoured fast bowlers and barring injuries Australia are likely to field an unchanged team, again without a specialist spin bowler.


But the tourists have injury concerns, with two fast bowlers flown in to bolster their squad. Tasmanian Brett Geeves arrived as cover for Doug Bollinger, who was not picked for the Wanderers Test but suffered an injury while practicing. Cricket Australia announced Wednesday that Steve Magoffin of Western Australia would also be joining the squad because Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, who provided excellent support for strike bowler Mitchell Johnson in Johannesburg, had minor injuries. According to a statement, Hilfenhaus was suffering from soreness in his lower back and Siddle had pain in his left foot.


Squads :


South Africa : Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Paul Harris, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel.


Australia : Ricky Ponting (captain), Simon Katich, Phil Hughes, Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Andrew McDonald, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Brett Geeves, Steve Magoffin, Nathan Hauritz and Bryce McGain.


Umpires : Asad Rauf (PAK), Billy Bowden (NZ).


TV umpire : Steve Bucknor (WI).


Match referee : Jeff Crowe (NZ).


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