Wed, Dec 07, 2005 - Page 19 News List

No need to panic, struggling South Africa's coach says

AFP , PERTH, AUSTRALIA

Western Australian paceman Shawn Gillies, right, bowls next to batsman Justin Kemp in the West Australian Warriors versus South Africa match in Perth yesterday. First-class debutante Gillies made a mockery of South Africa's top order, bagging the wickets of both openers in his first over and then snaring a third just two overs later.

PHOTO: AFP

South African coach Mickey Arthur denied there was any cause for panic amongst his ranks after the tourists were forced to follow-on during the second day of their three-day tour match against Western Australia at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground in Perth yesterday.

At stumps the South Africans were 25 for two in their second innings with opener Jacques Rudolph on 14 and Ashwell Prince on one, the not out batsmen. They had earlier been dismissed for a dismal 179 in reply to the home side's first innings total of 391 for 8 (dec).

Western Australian captain Justin Langer chose to enforce the follow-on and at the end of the day the tourists were still 187 runs adrift.

But Arthur said the players simply needed to blow out some cobwebs after their tour of India, where they played four one-day matches.

"We haven't pushed any panic buttons. The guys are still very, very tight," Arthur said.

"We have come across four or five time zones in the last week and that was almost expected. We've been very low-intensity, obviously building up to next week and then to the Test match. We've been at low intensity for the simple reason ... it was the advice we got medically that we should just take it very, very easy which we've been doing. I think the guys got a wake up call today and it's caused them to refocus," he said.

The South Africans will play Australia in three Tests, with the first starting at the same venue on Dec. 16.

The WACA wicket, normally a haven for pace bowlers, is playing slower than usual although there was still plenty of bounce.

"I think coming off the decks in India it's been a huge shock really -- the guys will adjust though ... but it's chalk and cheese from where we have been in the last few weeks. I think you'll see a different side come out tomorrow and certainly down the line our intensity is going to increase in the lead up to the Test," Arthur said.

The Proteas' batting was ripped apart by a Western Australian bowling attack which has struggled in the Australian domestic competition this season and included a player drafted from club level.

Western Australia had declared their first innings closed half an hour before lunch and at first it seemed as through the South Africans would make full use of the surface with AB de Villiers and Jacques Rudolph putting on 71 before the first wicket fell.

But the Proteas then collapsed, losing their remaining 10 wickets for 108, with only tailender Nicky Boje offering any resistance with an unbeaten 26.

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