‘One of those funny days, but no demon pitch’

2011-11-11 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Newlands pitch curator Evan Flint cannot be held culpable for creating any sort of “monster” in his surface for the first Test match between South Africa and Australia, says former Proteas seam bowling specialist Craig Matthews.

He was reacting to the clatter-of-wickets carnage at the famous venue on day two of the Test yesterday.

Matthews, an expert on local conditions after a first-class career involving service for Western Province and South Africa, said: “I feel sorry for the groundsman because, of course, questions will be asked.

“Perhaps it was simply one of those funny days in cricket. I think the difference between days one and two was that the pitch has just hardened up a bit and got a bit quicker — where you played and missed on the first day, you nicked it the next.” Matthews conceded that the avalanche of wickets probably caused a simultaneous “mental spiral” among the batsmen.

“That does happen, people start looking for demons in the wicket as a result and we saw some [loose] strokes.

He agreed that it was a strip tailor-made for Vernon Philander. “He must think Test cricket is easy; he’ll play on a lot flatter wickets than this. But that said, you’ve still got to get the ball in the right areas and he certainly found a beautiful length.”

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