Cook praying for a full house at the Wanderers in the final Test against Sri Lanka
Proteas opening batsman Stephen Cook is expecting the Wanderers Stadium to serve up the usual pace and bounce during the third and final Test against Sri Lanka‚ which starts on Thursday in Johannesburg.
Cook said the wicket at the Bullring may be slow in the beginning of the match but it will start to quicken up from day two.
“The weather has not been brilliant over the last couple of days and the pitch is probably a little bit behind in terms of hardness as it should be‚" he said.
"Generally this season there have been cracks on the wicket‚ especially when it has been dry and maybe the moisture will keep it together.
"But‚ there ought to be the usual pace and bounce.
"It may be slow to start the game but from day two and three it will start to quicken up.”
Given the nature of the pacey conditions at Wanderers‚ which has been his home for 17 years‚ Cook said spin has been ineffective in the past.
“Spin has been fairly ineffective in terms of taking wickets here at the Wanderers but it has been used effectively to contain.
"I think someone like Keshav Maharaj‚ who has shown the ability to contain‚ could do the job and allow the quicks to come hard on the other end.
"There have been times when at the Lions have gone for an all out seam attack but it can be a risk strategy.”
The 34-year old opener described the opportunity of playing in front of his home crowd as a dream come true‚ despite the possibility of the occasion being overshadowed by Hashim Amla’s 100th Test appearance.
“It is a proper dream come true because this is my home‚ I grew up on the banks here and it is well documented that I have spent my whole career here.
"To be able to walk out and play a test match for South Africa here is fantastic.
"There is no extra pressure‚ only natural pressure with it being a test match.
"There have been many a day that I have sat here playing in front of empty stands thinking it would be a great place to play in front of a packed house.
"Hopefully the guys come out and support this test match and that part of the dream can be fulfilled.”
Cook said they are targeting a clean sweep to round off what has been a good series against the Sri Lankans.
“We have just come from a team meeting where we have spoken about the importance of being 2-nil up and finishing the job.
"We spoke about it in Australia but didn’t do the business after having done the whitewash in the ODIs.
"It’s first and foremost on the guys’ minds‚ we know the conditions have suited us and we have been playing some good cricket and when opportunities present themselves to dominate like this that is what we are looking to do‚” he said. - TMG Digital