Once upon a time the Bangladesh cricket team’s tail-enders used to fight better than the top-order. It was during those days when Bangladesh were awarded a premature Test status. Their inexperienced top-order batters succumbed easily, but surprisingly, the lower-order, despite being novices in Test arena, fought better to earn the accolades. All of a sudden, one could find a similarity between that Bangladesh batting line-up and this South African batting line-up at Port Elizabeth.
Let's make this clear. Dom Bess isn't a better spinner than Keshav Maharaj. There are very few spinners who are better than Maharaj in Tests now.
— Rohit Sankar (@imRohit_SN) January 18, 2020
Since that inspiring victory in the first Test, suddenly, South Africa are experiencing a bad-patch and shutting the doors of hope – the hope of a come back strongly. Maybe it s too early to give up on the new set up, but the prognosis has not been that good in the last two Tests and that is where frustrations creep in.
South Africa batted very poorly. Such a defeat was inevitable. Where is the defence? #SAvEng
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) January 20, 2020
In the first and second innings, the South African top-order surrendered to the spin bowling of Dom Bess and Joe Root respectively. Dom Bess is a good bowler, who can be better, but still, he is not that customer to create havoc in a batting line-up. Neither Joe Root is that sort of a bowler. But it was the lack of trust in defence, which led to their downfall.
This is the third time in the last 4 months and in the past 5 Tests SA have been asked to follow-on.
This is unacceptable.
Players need to take responsibility.#SAvENG
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) January 19, 2020
Meanwhile, the likes of Nortje, Keshav Maharaj and Dane Peterson showed how to bat on the Port Elizabeth deck. The Port Elizabeth track would get tougher to bat on with the progress of the day, but surely, the possibility of turning into a Mumbai or Galle was less. If a batsman show resilience, he would be able to script a long innings. Sadly, the Proteas top-order batters were too poor technically and temperamentally. It cost them the Test. England won’t mind though. The World Champions in ODI cricket are celebrating the back-to-back victories despite a poor start.