JOHANNESBURG: Coca-Cola South Africa under-19s coach Lawrence Mahatlane admits his side’s failure with the bat was the key factor in their defeat against England in the first Youth Test match.
The visitors were restricted to below-par scores in their respective innings before the home side cruised to a nine-wicket triumph on Day Three at Scarborough Cricket Club.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, South Africa’s aims of setting a big first innings total on a favourable surface proved to be unsuccessful.
They lost both opening batsmen, Thamsanqa Khumalo and Joshua Richards for two and eight respectively before a further two wickets involving captain Wandile Makwetu and Sinethemba Qeshile left the visitors reeling on 87/4 at lunch on Day One.
Despite Jacob Miltz’ courageous half-century and Jade de Klerk’s gutsy performance with the bat at number seven, the visiting side failed to recover as they continued to lose wickets before being bowled out for 232.
“We let ourselves down with the batting throughout this game,” Mahatlane stated after the match. “The one thing that stood out for me was how as a unit, we just didn’t put the runs together. Scoring 232 in the first innings put us under pressure, (especially) after winning the toss.”
In reply for the home side, England captain Tom Banton’s display with the bat was also highlighted by the coach. This after the right-hander recorded a well-played 137 (23x4s, 2x6s) as he proceeded to take the game away from the tourists, helping his side to a 305-run total and a lead of 73.
“Credit needs to go to the English side,” the coach continued. “They played the conditions a lot better than we did.
“Their captain was outstanding in getting the hundred, given the fact that only three players in their side got double figures in the first innings,” he added.
With England edging the match heading into the second innings, the South African batting order failed to adequately respond to the pressure applied, as a Jack Plom-led attack impressed with the ball. The fast bowler added four wickets to the three he collected in the first innings, as the visitors were shot out for 161. He ended the match with impressive figures of 7/101.
“The discipline of their bowlers was a lot better than ours, but it is the start of the tour and hopefully we’ll grow, and grow quickly going into the next game,” Mahatlane said.
As the hosts went into their second innings only needing 89 runs to win, openers Ben Charlesworth and Oliver Robinson made light work of the target, as they forged ahead with the latter being the only wicket to fall before wrapping up the victory.
South Africa will look to bounce back in the second and final match taking place at the Riverside Ground in Durham on Monday 16 July.