SA vs BAN 2022 – 2nd Test – Strong second string performance gives South Africa ‘options’ ahead of Test winter | locust

Duanne Olivier appeals for a wicket against Bangladesh ©AFP/Getty Images

South Africa are not opening the doors to welcome back IPL absentees who “vacated their places”, as coach Mark Boucher put it, after finding a strong second tier of players in their the series sweeps over Bangladesh.

South Africa topped both Tests despite lacking their entire frontline pace pack and with four of their top six hitters having 13 Test selections in between. It will give coaches a “big headache”, according to captain Dean Elgar, who has encouraged substitutes to make it difficult for starters to return.

“My message for new players was to put these guys under pressure, go out there and play for yourself and play for the team. They shouldn’t underestimate their value as young newcomers. cricketers,” Elgar said.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen, Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen collectively decided to play in the IPL rather than the Test series against Bangladesh, after the ASC left the decision in the hands of the player. It opened the door to Ryan Rickelton and Lizaad Williams debut, Sarel Erwee stand out as an opener, Duanne Olivier lead the attack and simon harmer to make a test comeback – and all impressed Elgar.

“By giving guys experience, you create a lot more depth going forward,” he said. “We’re in a very lucky and strong position giving the guys exposure at this level. The guys raised their hands brilliantly.”

While it would be hard to imagine South Africa looking past pace bowlers, Markram, who has on average 16.38 since Elgar took over the captaincy, and van der Dussen (30.81 at the same time) are on fragile ground. Markram was dropped in order in favor of Erwee at the top in New Zealand and was due to be benched for the Bangladesh series, while van der Dussen failed to claim the No. 4. Asked what the plan would be for the pair when they return, Elgar indicated that they would have to fight to reclaim their Test spots.

“I don’t think the statement of their return is fair,” Elgar said. “The guys who’ve played right now have made a massive statement. We’ve got a decent batting pool going forward. I can’t say if those guys are going to be selected again. It’s not up to me.”

Here we assess South Africa’s options for the next Test assignment, against England in August-September.

Erwee vs. Markram

Although Erwee was chosen to open batting in New Zealand, with Markram at the IPL he had the opportunity to make his partnership with Elgar more permanent. So far, so good. The pair are averaging 49.62 in eight innings together, with two centuries and two stands over fifty. Elgar and Markram averaged 31.48, the worst of all opening pair that have been together for at least 1000 runs. Erwee is a patient player, who leaves the ball well and allowed Elgar to take on a more attacking role. Elgar’s second and third fastest fifties came in this series, with 66 and 60 balls respectively.

Where Erwee let himself down was that once he got in he gave his wicket away and couldn’t continue beyond 40s. In the first test he played, trying to cut Mehidy Hasan Miraz but underflanking, and in the second he landed a straight catch halfway. Erwee showed he had stamina in New Zealand, where he scored a century, but admitted he needed ‘bigger scores on the board to help me’.

Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee formed a productive opening partnership ©AFP/Getty Images

Erwee is set to get the green light to go to England as Elgar’s opening partner, but his biggest threat may not come from Markram: Pieter Malan, who played three Tests in the 2019 season- 20, leading the first-class run-charts this summer.

Rickelton vs van der Dussen

With high expectations after a season in which he averaged over 80 in domestic cricket, Rickelton started all four innings against Bangladesh and proved himself to be an aggressive mid-level hitter, unafraid to backtrack early – that was the shot. this earned him his first runs in Test cricket. Looking for quick runs, he was ahead in Durban and handed a catch to Gqeberha, but impressed his captain, who singled him out for making a good first impression in international cricket.

“It was nice to see young guys like Ryan Rickelton come in and do pretty well,” Elgar said. “The intensity might not have been that of playing against England, but he still has a bit of taste and he now understands the arena and what we expect as a player.”

Given that van der Dussen is known to start slow and Bavuma performed well in the No. 4 role in this series, Rickelton could be given a long run in the middle order with van der Dussen likely to be dropped for the English series. .

In the bowling department, South Africa now has even more options with the addition of an offspinner and larger rhythm drum set. Here’s how the attack unfolded:

The Return of Harmer

Before Brexit, Harmer would not have thought a test return for South Africa was possible. He would not even have wanted to and would have preferred to qualify for England, but all that has changed. Since returning to the South African national setup, Harmer has dominated the field and been the top wicket-taker in this season’s premier competition and performed well under pressure. He led the Titans to victory in the season finale, earning a nine-for.

Harmer was impressive on the Test return and grabbed headlines in the first leg in Durban, where his attacking backlash mark earned him four wickets. But he was also happy to play the supporting role of Keshav Maharaj, who finished as the leading wicket taker with 16 in the series. Harmer was not far behind with 13 and gave South Africa a whole new combination to consider.

Simon Harmer claimed 13 wickets in two Tests ©AFP/Getty Images

Since 1970 they hadn’t faced two specialty spinners at home and if those games had been on the Highveld they wouldn’t have made it in this series. But in successive slow coastal pitches, South Africa have discovered a new combination in their attack and Harmer believes they can use it in England too.

Speaking to broadcasters afterwards, he said he hoped he had given selectors a reason to consider him an all-around spin bowler and that he believed he and Maharaj could work successfully in tandem at Lord’s. , Old Trafford and The Oval. “All of these sites are running,” he said.

Given Harmer’s success with Essex, South Africa cannot ignore him for the England tour and Boucher confirmed that, if selected, even players with overseas contracts with counties will be available for national service. “As far as I’m concerned, everyone is available. I had personal conversations with most of the guys and they all came into the lineup saying they wanted to play for South Africa,” said Butcher. “I would like to think that every guy if chosen for South Africa will choose to play for them before any county or franchise.” (Ahem, IPL Six.)

Williams enjoying his moment

On spinner surfaces, Williams had a tough first series which ended with three wickets at 35.00. He was impressive with the new ball in Durban, then kicked the spell that opened Bangladesh’s middle order, but went without a wicket in Gqeberha, where he also struggled with his lengths and consistency. Williams conceded over four-plus runs in the opening round at St George’s Park.

He was preferred to Nothing Sipamla (who later got injured) and Daryn Dupavillon for this series but probably doesn’t need us to tell him that Sipamla, in particular, is likely to get the green light ahead of him in the future. Williams was the last South African to walk off the pitch at Gqeberha as he knelt in prayer after winning the series. He is a cricketer who is overflowing with gratitude for what the game has given him after life gave him some early challenges, but Williams is unlikely to make the England squad. A good summer at home could see him return to contention at a later date.

Olivier treads water

A regular since the Indian series, Olivier has solid domestic form in the first half of the season (he was the top wicket-taker in the four-day competition at one point) and Nortje’s long-standing injury to thank for his return to the test, which promised more than it delivered. Olivier came back rebranded from Executor to Controller and changed his lengths from short to full. It worked, to some extent, for Yorkshire and at the start of this summer, but after contracting Covid-19 ahead of the international testing season, Olivier hasn’t been at his best. He was late and struggled to make the same impact he had domestically. In five tests, Olivier took 11 wickets at 33.63.

If Nortje returns to full fitness, Olivier may need to have an exceptional county season to be considered for the team to play against England, and even if he is included it is likely that he has taken behind Jansen in the pecking order to play.

Overall, the new South African players have allayed a fear Boucher had when he took over in December 2019 that the talent pool was shallow. The performances in this series against Bangladesh prove that there is depth and that it continues to grow. It also means South Africa can take a varied squad to England, with plenty of bases covered, which is exactly what Elgar wants.

“You want more options than nothing,” he said. “We have a couple of extremely tough away series ahead. Our Test team is in a very healthy position. We are very grateful for the cricket we have played this summer.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in South Africa

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