MELBOURNE: Anrich Nortje expects the Proteas bowlers to continue where they left off in Brisbane and wants them to stay focussed on their job as they build up to the second Test in Melbourne starting on Monday.

South Africa lost the opening game of the three-match series and are now trailing 1-0 ahead of what is a big game at the MCG where they will be hoping to do much better after losing inside two days on a bowler-friendly wicket at The Gabba.

But Nortje believes the match was closer than it appears as a contest, saying that things could have easily gone the way of the tourists in a match were only two players hit half-centuries – Kyle Verreynne for the Proteas and Travis Head for the Australians.

“When we look back at the last game, it was just a matter of probably half a session, not even a session, and the game could have been different and we could have been in a winning position…that’s how quick things were happening,” the paceman told the media at the MCG on Saturday.

“So you can’t look at losing by six wickets and say it’s a big margin on that wicket, it might have been a very small margin. So it’s hard to say we’re not really focused on the last game, we’re focused on what’s going to come up now, trying to prepare again. Everyone’s in a really good space mentally and physically, so we’re just looking forward to getting on and starting the game now.”

The pitch in Brisbane was under the spotlight for its part in the outcome and the same is happening now in Melbourne where a lot of focus is on the surface that has been prepared by the groundsman.

“We’ll have to wait and see,” was Nortje’s response when asked about the wicket. “You can’t really go into history too much, but it seems like a good wicket in terms of pace and bounce.

“I don’t think there will be as much side movement as there was in Brisbane so hopefully we’ll just be able to stick to the basics. I know it’s simple to say but that’s what we’ll be hoping to do and use our bouncers as a bowling unit.

“As a bowling unit I don’t think there are going to be massive demons in the wicket. I’ve never played here, so I can’t speak from experience, but we think it will be a good contest.”

The Proteas’ last Test at Melbourne was way back in 2008 when Dale Steyn took 10 wickets and they beat the hosts by nine wickets en-route to a 2-1 series win. The second Test is scheduled to run from Boxing Day, December 26-30.

Proteas Test squad against Australia

Dean Elgar (captain, Momentum Multiply Titans), Temba Bavuma (DP World Lions), Gerald Coetzee (ITEC Knights), Theunis de Bruyn (Momentum Multiply Titans), Sarel Erwee (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Simon Harmer (Momentum Multiply Titans), Marco Jansen (Dafabet Warriors), Heinrich Klaasen (Momentum Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Lungi Ngidi (Momentum Multiply Titans), Anrich Nortje (Dafabet Warriors), Kagiso Rabada (DP World Lions), Rassie van der Dussen (DP World Lions), Kyle Verreynne (wicketkeeper, Six Gun Grill Western Province), Lizaad Williams (Momentum Multiply Titans), Khaya Zondo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins).

South Africa Test Tour to Australia Itinerary

Four-day Tour Match

09 – 12 December

Cricket Australia XI drew with South Africa – The Allan Border Field, Brisbane



17 – 21 December

Australia beat South Africa by six wickets – The Gabba, Brisbane


26 – 30 December

Australia vs South Africa – MCG, Melbourne


04 – 08 January

Australia vs South Africa – SCG, Sydney



Issued by: Cricket South Africa – Corporate Communications


Cricket South Africa (CSA), an affiliate of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is the national governing body for the sport of cricket in South Africa and administers all aspects of South African cricket, men and women, both in the professional and amateur spheres.