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‘Not good enough for Test cricket’ – Arthur slams South African pitches

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur has condemned the state of South African pitches, branding them “not good enough for Test cricket”.

The former South African domestic cricketer, who coached his homeland from 2005 to 2010, could not hold back his disappointment after witnessing a lively deck in Centurion and now Cape Town, describing conditions as a “lottery” – even in the first innings.

Pakistan have so far posted scores of 181, 190 and 177 in the series, compared to South Africa’s 223, 151/4 and their current innings of 382-6.

Faf du Plessis fends off a rising delivery during day two of the second Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at Newlands

“I am little bit disappointed in that I haven’t been back to South Africa in a cricket capacity since 2010, and the wicket that we had in Centurion and the wicket that we had here (Newlands) is not good enough for Test cricket,” the Pakistan coach said following the second day of the second Test against the Proteas.

“We saw seven stoppages for balls that hit cracks today with the physio having to come out. And we are talking about day two.

“I understand if that was day four and day five, because that is what happens in Test cricket – the wicket deteriorates. But it shouldn’t make your first innings a lottery. I think batting here in the first innings is really tough.”

“Poor Aiden Markram was outstanding yesterday. Being an opening batsman in South Africa is a at the moment is a tough gig. It has changed significantly since I was last here.”

The Pakistan bowlers made South Africa captain Faf du Plessis work and bleed for his runs on day two in Newlands, with the physio called into action on several occasions, but Arthur believes the additional pace of the South African bowlers on an unpredictable pitch gives the hosts a big advantage.

“We were also at 135km/h and South Africa’s bowlers were at 145km/h, and that 10km/h makes a big difference,” he added.

Temba Bavuma and du Plessis shared a 156-run partnership for the fifth wicket on Friday – comfortably the highest score of the series so far.

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