South Africa head coach Shukri Conrad Thursday termed the Newlands surface on which the shortest Test match in the history of the game was played as “not great” and where sheer luck trumped pure skill. India beat South Africa by seven wickets in a match that was played for just 106.2 overs and ended in a day and a little over one session. “I don’t know what people want me to say. You only need to look at the scores. 1.5-day Test match! You need to look at how they chased 80 (79). Sad state when you need more luck than skill. All the ethics and values of Test cricket goes out the window,” Conrad, a former Western Province cricketer, lashed out after the series ended in a 1-1 stalemate.
Since he has been a Western Province coach and the proverbial insider, he was asked about the surface where balls were just flying from length.
“I don’t know what’s going on here. I have moved on. Not in a position to know the goings on between the walls here. Everybody knows the wicket wasn’t great,” his frank observation would hurt Cricket South Africa (CSA) as well as the Western Province bosses.
Conrad sympathised with chief curator of Newlands, Braam Mong, who, according to the Proteas head coach, might just have “over-prepared” the surface.
“I know Braam Mong. Braam is a good guy. Sometimes good guys do bad things or make mistakes. This doesn’t make him a rubbish groundsman. There will be a lot of learnings for him. I might pop in here and have a word with him to see what he is seeing.
“You have to feel for the groundsmen too. He wants to get it right too… so the wicket might be over-prepared. Take it on the chin,” said Conrad.
Felt like matter of time before you got out: Markram
Aiden Markram, who perhaps played his best Test knock in the most challenging conditions, said that throughout his 103-ball 106, he felt that he could get out anytime.
On this track, it did seem as if attack is the best form of defence.
“Certainly in some cases for sure (attack is the best form of defence). Kind of feels like a matter of time before you get out. You have to maximise and score when you’re there.
“Squeeze a 50, it might go a long way in tough conditions. Roles and partnerships. Some person might have to hang around and let another guy score.” Markram had no hesitation in admitting that getting bowled out for 55 in the first innings was unacceptable.
“Good show? Certainly not 55. It was very hard. Sometimes you find yourself nicking every ball. Felt like it was one of those days for us.
“Look back in hindsight, we could have worked towards 150. It would have been a good game. Difficult to come back from there.”
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