Fickle Newlands pitch catches batsmen off guard

Henry

A host of wickets fell at Newlands in Cape Town on Wednesday. Twenty-three to be exact.

South Africa were first bowled out for a paltry 55 runs, after which India came up with an impressive batting collapse of its own: From 153/4 to 153 all out.

Ashwell Prince, the Proteas’ batting consultant who in his playing days played many matches at Newlands itself, believes that the pitch caught him off guard.

“I have never seen such a Newlands track sheet. As a batsman, you don’t really care when the pitch is nice and fast, as long as the swing is just steady,” said the former Protea batsman.

According to Prince, the bounce was already quite erratic on the first day of the match: Some deliveries stayed low, while others shot through shoulder height to the wicket-keeper.

There was also a difference in the bounce of the ball; depending on which side the fast bowlers bowled.

From the Wynberg side, one can certainly compare the bounce to a Vengaboys hit – rather “Up & Down”. In contrast, the batsmen had to stand up when the ball clattered against their gloves from the Calvin Grove side.

According to Elgar, he never thought that the page would react like this.

“To the naked eye, the batting pitch didn’t look bad at all. We can’t complain at all about the previous pitches – even the ones the local teams played on.”

Although neither Elgar nor Prince know why the pitch suddenly turned into a minefield, they admit that India bowled excellently.

The Proteas resume their score today at 62/3; another 36 runs away from India’s first innings score.