South Africa’s bowlers were given the perfect workout on the first day of their two-day warm-up match against a Board President’s XI in Mumbai on Friday. The overs were distributed among all of the bowlers in the squad, with Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander showing impressive early-series form with movement off the deck and through the air. Steyn finished with figures of 3/46 in 13 overs and Philander with 2/37 in 12 overs.
The outing was also a valuable experience for wicket-keeper batsman, Dane Vilas, who took three catches in tricky ‘keeping conditions and had good exposure of the way the SG ball will play in the sub-continent conditions. Vilas says: ‘The bowlers wanted to get a good run and to get some overs under their belt. Bowling with the white ball is a lot different to the red. It’s also good for the guys joining up with the squad to take a few balls and to get a run around. A match situation is a lot different to practice so it’s been very good. It was quite difficult at a stage. It was tough when Morne (Morkel) and KG (Rabada) were hitting the deck, they are guys who don’t normally swing it like Dale or Vernon. It was difficult when the lacquer started coming off the ball after the 15th over but it was good to experience those sort of conditions.’
The tail was cleaned up by the spin trio of Simon Harmer (3/41), Dane Piedt (1/88) and Imran Tahir (1/16), with part-timers, Dean Elgar and Stiaan Van Zyl, also contributing with some overs. Morne Morkel completed his prescribed five overs, which are part of the rehab plan set out by Proteas physiotherapist, Brandon Jackson. Vilas says: ‘I think in any environment if you think you are secure in your position you will find that it’s not great for a team. We have three spinners who are fighting for positions, batsmen who want to get in, everyone in this squad is fighting for a position. Every player in the squad wants the chance to play against a good quality Indian team in India.’ Indian opener, Lokesh Rahul (72) and wicket-keeper batsman, Naman Ojha (52) top-scored for the hosts who were bowled out for 296 in 78.5 overs. South Africa will resume their innings on 46/2 on Saturday.