Ken Borland

By Ken Borland

Journalist


Nkwe: History against Proteas, but we believe we can win second Test

"We need to absorb pressure and we can’t look too far ahead, because the game could turn. But if it turns our way then we must be ready to pounce on the opportunity."


Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe said the team are excited about the challenge before them on the last day of the second and final Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi, as an excellent partnership between Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen left them needing 243 more runs with nine wickets in hand to win the match and draw the series.

Markram has shown solid defence but also scored freely when the opportunity has presented itself, reaching stumps on 59 not out, while Van der Dussen has provided great support and played well for his 48 not out.

South Africa are chasing an unlikely 370 for victory, but at 127 for one going into the fifth day they do at least have some hope.

ALSO READ: Markram, Van der Dussen foil Pakistan to give South Africa hope of victory

History is not on their side – before the West Indies’ incredible run-chase of 395 against Bangladesh in Chattogram on Sunday, no non-Asian team has scored more than 317 to win a Test on the sub-continent (NZ v Bangladesh 2008). South Africa have never scored more than 300 in the fourth innings in Asia.

“We know it’s not going to be easy but we’re going to enjoy the challenge,” Nkwe said.

“We know they’ll be looking for wickets and we just have to make sure we are ready for that challenge. We will have to be patient but when there are those small windows to score then we must take those. It was good to see Aiden and Rassie step up today and hopefully we’ll have the same mindset on the final day.

“A massive partnership is going to be important or else we’re going to be on the back foot. Partnerships are our focus and we need to make sure we keep up our intensity, stay in the moment and not get carried away.

“We need to absorb pressure and we can’t look too far ahead, because the game could turn. But if it turns our way then we must be ready to pounce on the opportunity.”

ALSO READ: Majestic Mayers leads West Indies to shock win over Bangladesh

In recent times it has been the Proteas bowlers who have had to prop up the team due to the faltering efforts of the batting line-up, for which they have taken full responsibility according to Nkwe.

But on Sunday the Proteas bowlers endured a miserable second session as Pakistan, resuming after lunch on 217 for eight, thrashed 81 runs in 17 overs, Mohammad Rizwan making a match-swinging, elegant unbeaten century and tailender Nauman Ali belting 45.

“In general our bowlers have done well, although at times we have let ourselves down. But this is a growing group of players and we’ve got to build on that,” Nkwe said.

Enoch Nkwe

Proteas assistant Enoch Nkwe is confident the team can pull off a win in the second Test. Picture: Getty Images

“It will take some time but they are going to get better. For many of them it is their first opportunity on the subcontinent and we need to be patient with the process. We have a simple formula to make sure our attack are a force in world cricket again.

“We addressed those bad sessions straight after the first Test, they’re just small mental errors, but we need to play those situations much better. We’ve brought ourselves nicely back into the game here and we believe we can win.

“In this Test we’ve been much better mentally, although there were still situations we could have played out much better. It’s about intensity and making sure we’re ready.”

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