TELFORD VICE, Bulawayo
SA’S readiness for their test series against New Zealand next week won’t be helped by their A team’s current form.
Stephen Cook’s men crashed to defeat to Australia A by 10 wickets in Townsville in Queensland on Tuesday in the second match of their four-day series.
The Aussies won the first game, played in Brisbane, by 197 runs.
Which does not mean much in isolation as A team cricket exists in a relevance vacuum.
But seven members of SA A’s dressingroom are also in the squad that will be at Kingsmead next Friday to take on the Kiwis.
One of them, Stephen Cook, captained SA A in Australia – where he scored 58 runs in four innings, 53 of them in one trip to the crease.
“The guys didn’t bounce back the way we would have expected and it’s another poor result,” Cook told reporters on Tuesday.
“A couple of individuals (had decent games) but that’s insignificant compared to the team score.
“The team’s results weren’t good so I don’t think too many guys are feeling too good about things.”
Cook is likely to open the batting against bowlers of the calibre of Tim Southee and Trent Boult in Durban in a few days’ time.
Still, he would seem to be in marginally better nick than his probable middle order teammate, Temba Bavuma, who mustered 51 runs in four knocks in Australia.
Cook’s likely opening partner, Dean Elgar, and the possible spare batsman in the test squad, Stiaan van Zyl, had a better time of it – they banked 133 and 111 runs.
Wayne Parnell, who will look to earn his first test cap in more than two years at Kingsmead, was left out for the Brisbane match and, in Townsville, made 51 runs in his two innings and laboured to figures of 1/117 in 29 overs.
Vernon Philander, who has missed SA’s last seven tests with an ankle injury he sustained in November, took 3/81 in his 32.5 overs in Brisbane and did not play in Townsville.
Dane Piedt will be more confident going into next week, having toiled for 62.5 overs in both games for his return of 6/262.