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Langevelft backs decision for rookie Paterson to open bowling at St George's

Kagiso Rabada with bowling coach Charl Langeveldt during the SA Proteas squad training at Super Sport Park in Centurion on 20 December 2019.
Kagiso Rabada with bowling coach Charl Langeveldt during the SA Proteas squad training at Super Sport Park in Centurion on 20 December 2019.
Image: ©Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

South Africa bowling coach Charl Langeveldt backed the decision to open with debutant Dane Paterson on Thursday’s day one of the third Test at St George's Park despite criticism to the contrary.

There were raised eyebrows when Paterson was thrown the new ball for the second over of the day ahead of the likes of quicker assets like Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje.

With Vernon Philander bowling the first six balls‚ it was pretty much the same pace from both ends‚ give or take a few kilometres per hour.

The feeling of some outside of the Proteas camp was that a more experienced speedster should have been been entrusted with the duty but Langeveldt argued the opposite after the day’s play.

“Everybody has got an opinion. Your opinion‚ my opinion. The public out there will have an opinion as well‚” said the former Proteas seamer.

“You always look to strike. We always look to strike with the new ball. We just thought with a bit of moisture in the pitch in the morning that we needed to bowl a fuller length and that was the thought‚” he continued‚ suggesting that Paterson was more suited to that role than the team’s two out-and-out express men.

But‚ it didn’t go according to what was planned and England got off to a solid start posting 70 for the first wicket of Dom Sibley.

However‚ with some good captaincy and clever field placing‚ SA were able to drag themselves back into the game to have England 148 for four.

“It was hard work. We stuck to our game‚ trying to keep them under 2.5 runs per over for long periods of time.

“We tried to bowl straighter lines and I think what we wanted to achieve we did today.

“It was hard to get wickets and we generally just stayed patient. The pitch was quite slow so the batsmen could adjust.”

Ben Stokes (38) and Ollie Pope (39) did just that and the pair rescued the innings and survived the new ball to post an unbeaten stand of 76 for the fifth wicket by the close of play.

Lef-tarm spinner Keshav Maharaj was persistent from the Duckpond End and bowled 30 unchanged overs before the new ball arrived taking just the one wicket of Joe Denly.

But it was the accuracy from his end that prevented England from having a better day than they did.

“Brilliant‚” said Langeveldt when asked about the turner’s performance. “ I think he was awesome. He created a lot of chances and kept the run-rate down and he looked the most threatening of all the bowlers on this wicket.”

England young gun Zak Crawley was satisfied with how matters turned out for the tourists. He grafted for 44 in a 203-minute stay at the crease at the top of the order.

“It was tough going‚ it was a slow pitch‚ so tough to score‚” Crawley said. “That said‚ there wasn’t a lot of quick nip‚ so it was also tough for the bowlers.

“It was nice to spend a bit of time out there but it was very attritional cricket. Just over two [runs] an over. It was a struggle but I enjoyed it.”

Crawley believes that around 100 or so more first innings runs will be a job well done.

“I think it was a very good day for us in the end. Pope and Stokes played brilliantly to put us in a good position.

“If we can get in the late 300s that’s a very good score on this pitch.

“It’s only going to get worse from there and continue to spin quite a bit. Hopefully a few will go underground like Joe’s did and we can bowl last on it and bowl well.”