South Africa: Batsmen Struggled to Adapt – Behardien

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Proteas captain, Farhaan Behardien, admits that the batsmen struggled to adapt to the slow and spinning conditions in their three-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in the second T20 International at the Wanderers on Sunday.

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Behardien (27) and opener, Heino Kuhn (29), were the only batsmen to make meaningful contributions in challenging conditions and against a three-pronged spin attack, but the lack of a substantial partnership and wickets falling at regular intervals stunted the push for a defendable score.

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The Proteas’ total of 113 all out was their lowest T20 score at the ground, with the uncharacteristic conditions playing into the hands of the visitors’ attack.

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“We didn’t assess quickly enough,” he admitted after the match. “We thought we did but the nature of the wicket brought the Sri Lankan spinners into the game. Noticeably their left-arm chinaman, who was the star for them today and picked up wickets on a regular basis. It stunted our momentum going forward, we lost wickets at crucial moments and couldn’t build any partnerships, which are crucial on a slow wicket, it’s difficult for the new batters coming in.”

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Behardien is proud of his bowlers for taking the low-scoring match to the last over, particularly the contribution from Lungi Ngidi, who continues to impress in only his second T20 international match for South Africa.

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Ngidi countered the spin-friendly conditions with aggression and pace to finish with outstanding figures of 4/19 in his four-over spell.

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“I think a superstar has been born,” he said of the 20-year-old. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, he is only 20, but if he keeps his feet on the ground he will have a long career. He bowled out of his skin with good pace and bounce. Even on a slowish wicket he got the breakthroughs for us that we needed. He got three wickets in his first few overs and a breakthrough in his fourth over, he was somebody that we could turn to to strike, I’m really pleased for him.”

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The squad will travel to Cape Town on Monday ahead of the series-deciding third T20 International at Newlands on Wednesday. AB de Villiers passed a fitness test on Sunday and has been added to the squad for the third match.

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Source: Sport24

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