S. Africa coach defends Abu Dhabi pitch

ABU DHABI - South African coach Corrie van Zyl said it was a hard day at work as Pakistan came up with a fine riposte on the third day of the second Test at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium on Monday.

By James Jose

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Published: Tue 23 Nov 2010, 11:59 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:49 AM

Pakistan, resuming on 59 for one, facing 584, ended the day on 317 for six, still 267 in arrears and needing 68 to avoid the follow-on. “That is Test cricket for you. It has been a long slog with 88 overs with 260 odd runs and five wickets. But it was good Test cricket at the end of the day, I think that is what Test cricket is all about,” Zyl said after the day’s play.

About the pitch, Zyl said: “I think the Dubai wicket gave us a little bit more on the first two three days and then sort of remained the same and did not deteriorate. I would like to see this pitch deteriorate a little bit more. It looks fairly placid at the moment and is funny enough and I haven’t seen it really break up. But there is some balance in it at times. It just stayed with it and in 88 overs, we only got five wickets. But we never know with this wicket. The Test match might speed up. We are hoping for that.”

He defended the pitch though. “This is the first Test match on this wicket. It has played well but it is pretty flat at the moment. It is lasting well and we are hoping that it will deteriorate further but it doesn’t look like it. But it would be unfair to say it is not good for Test cricket. It is the first Test here and the groundsman has done a good job so far,” he said.

The morning session was crucial with a bit of moisture in the wicket but Zyl said that movement had reduced over the three days. “I think it did move a lot on day one and a little bit less on day two and today it was less again. I thought we plucked away well today morning but we had to bowl some guys a bit different. But we have to give credit to the Pakistan batsmen. They really played well. They have been patient,” said Zyl.

About the fourth day’s play, he said: “We just have to come and do the same tomorrow. The quicker we can get the last four wickets in terms of time and then we can have a second go. That is important for us. The moisture is not there anymore and there is going to be hard work here.” On enforcing the follow-on, Zyl said: “We have to make that decision morrow if we are in that position.”

The South African quicks peppered the Pakistani batsmen with some short stuff and although it didn’t pay off at times, Zyl defended the tactics. “At times we could have changed our tactics. I don’t want to sit here and criticize the tactics used in the field. Maybe, they felt, at times, that there wasn’t enough moment and at times I thought we were a little short,” he said.

Quick Dale Steyn is on a comeback trail and No 2 ranked South Africa host No 1 ranked India next. And Zyl said that Steyn was crucial against India. A guy like Steyn has not played a lot due to injury and these two Test matches are good for him before we face India. Having said that, it is important for us to win this series and therefore tomorrow and the day after are very important and we must make sure that we are ready for that,” Zyl said.

james@khaleejtimes.com


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