SA stand-in captain Aiden Markram put on a brave face after the humiliating nine-wicket defeat to India in the second one-day international (ODI) at Centurion on Sunday and described the result as a chastening experience.
Markram said his first match as Proteas skipper in the absence of Faf du Plessis‚ who has been ruled out with a finger injury‚ was an eye-opening experience after he found himself on the wrong side of an
Indian routing that was influenced by the visitors’ bewildering wrist spin.
"Definitely eye-opening‚ but it might just bring the best out of the squad and I am looking to see how the players react‚" Markram said.
SA’s batting line-up collapsed under pressure from India’s twin spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav‚ who shared eight wickets to take their total after two games to 13.
Looking back at the disappointing manner in which they succumbed to man-of-the-match Chahal‚ who ended with career best figures of 5/22‚ and Yadav who ended on 3/20‚ Markram admitted his batsmen failed to execute their plans.
"I don’t think it was lack of a game plan. If you speak to each individual in the top seven‚ every one of them has a clear plan. It comes down to execution on the day," he said, while insisting that facing slow wrist spinners was not a major problem for the Proteas.
"They [Chahal and Yadav] are two quality bowlers and I don’t think we played them particularly well‚ which was our downfall. You are never going to come across a bad bowling attack in international cricket. It’s just one of those things that we must work on, but it is not a massive danger for us."
Markam was joined by Dale Benkenstein at the post-match media conference and the South African batting coach said the team had practised against wrist spinners in the nets, but the challenge had been the quick turnaround between Tests and one-day internationals.
"We have had very little time. Unfortunately we moved from the Test series straight into the ODIs‚" Benkenstein said. "I thought we had a very good practice on Friday. We had two wrist spinners at our practice sessions, but things don’t turn around overnight. The problem is we are not at 50% of our ability with bat and ball and it is our job as the coaching staff to get the best out of them. It is not easy when things are moving from one day to the next."
Chahal‚ who was with India A during the triangular series against SA and Afghanistan in Pretoria in late 2017‚ said they bowled to their strengths.
"We are just bowling the way we have been doing in India and to our strengths‚" Chahal said.
"We are reading the wickets very well and that has been a plus for us. We bowl slow because the ground is very small and they have big hitters."
• SA’s worrisome injury list has been lengthened after wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock was ruled out for up to four weeks with a wrist injury.
De Kock joins stalwarts Du Plessis, Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers on the sidelines, though the latter is expected to resume training in the next few days.
De Kock was injured during SA’s defeat at Centurion, team manager Mohammed Moosajee said. "Quinton suffered an extreme blow to the left wrist while batting in the second ODI on Sunday and felt severe pain and discomfort. Further investigation revealed severe bone bruising to the area, with associated swelling around the tendon in the wrist."
SA already have uncapped wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen in their squad. Du Plessis (finger), Steyn (heel) and De Kock will now face a race against time to be fit for the first of four home Tests against Australia that start on March.