Impressive Duanne Olivier poses nice selection headache for SA ahead of Newlands Test

Proteas captain Faf du Plessis (L) stands alongside man of the match Duanne Olivier (R) at the presentations after day 3 of the 1st Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 28, 2018.
Proteas captain Faf du Plessis (L) stands alongside man of the match Duanne Olivier (R) at the presentations after day 3 of the 1st Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 28, 2018.
Image: Christiaan Kotze

SA captain Faf du Plessis has admitted that fast bowler Duanne Olivier has left them with a selection conundrum ahead of the New Year’s Day Test against Pakistan at Newlands in Cape Town next week.

Olivier only played in Centurion because of the absence of the now fit again Vernon Philander but made the most of the opportunity after impressing with his maiden ten-wicket haul and highly impressive match figures of 11/96 against the experienced Pakistan batsmen.

“It will be difficult to drop him (Olivier) for Newlands‚ wickets play a part but there is a mental aspect when it comes to Test cricket.

"You must create fear in the batsman’s eyes and you could sense that he made it uncomfortable for Pakistan‚” said Du Plessis after SA wrapped up a six wickets victory in the first Test at SuperSport Park.

Proteas' fast bowler Duanne Olivier celebrates after taking the wicket of opener Imam-ul-Haq for 57 runs during day 2 of the Castle Lager Boxing Day Test match between SA and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 27 2018.
Proteas' fast bowler Duanne Olivier celebrates after taking the wicket of opener Imam-ul-Haq for 57 runs during day 2 of the Castle Lager Boxing Day Test match between SA and Pakistan at SuperSport Park in Centurion on December 27 2018.
Image: Chrsitiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

Du Plessis said the conditions at Centurion suited Olivier better and he took full advantage by bullying the Pakistanis who have now failed to score more than 200 in their last four Test innings.

“These conditions suited him perfectly and he reminded me of what Mitch Johnson did to us about four years ago‚" he said.

"If you bowl quick‚ hard lengths‚ a lot of short stuff and with one or two balls going up and down‚ it makes it really hard to bat against.

“On this ground he bowled very well with a bit of pace and for him this was a perfect Test match.

"Whether the same thing will work in Newlands we will have to look at what are the right lines and lights to bowl.

"After his first two overs‚ the discussion was to make sure that he makes it uncomfortable for Pakistan.

"He bowled short for long periods and that took a lot of energy out of him and he was the ex-factor in this game.

"I am very happy for him because he has been waiting for this chance for a long time.

"We have some great fast bowlers so competition is tough‚ but to get eleven wickets in a Test match is a huge thing.”

Du Plessis added that the tough decision of having to choose between Olivier and Philander in Cape Town next week is because the latter’s record at Newlands is good.

“Vern (Philander) at Newlands picks himself because his record there is unbelievable.

"He will definitely be back in the team and the selection headache starts from there.

"But as the old cliché goes‚ it is a nice selection headache to have‚ we have good bowlers in the team and there are a few things that we must consider.

"Do we play seven batters or go with six batters or four seamers‚ those discussions will happen over the coming few days and once we looked at the wicket.

"It will be tough to leave out Duanne out who created a lot of mental scars on the opposition.”

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