Proteas spinner Maharaj says his poor form not ‘from a lack of effort’
The Proteas endured a miserable day in the outfield on day two of the third and final Test against Australia. Rain brought a premature end to the day’s play with the hosts on 475/4.
South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj (R) reacts as Australia’s Usman Khawaja runs between wickets during day two of the third cricket Test match between Australia and South Africa at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on 5 January 2023. Picture: DAVID GRAY/AFP
JOHANNESBURG – The end of South Africa’s tour to Australia can’t come soon enough for Proteas supporters and likely for the players as well.
The Proteas endured a miserable day in the outfield on day 2 of the third and, thankfully, final Test. Rain brought a premature end to the day’s play with the hosts on 475/4. The only joy for the South Africans on the day were the wickets of Steve Smith (104) and Travis Head (70) but the damage was already done as they conceded 328 runs.
Opener Usman Khawaja and Smith were at the crease when play resumed on the second morning. After a slow start, the pair had little discomfort facing the SA bowling unit, treating the attack with disdain. They found freedom in their stroke-making as the day progressed, hitting the ball to all parts to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
At various stages, the Proteas looked out of ideas and had no plan to stop the flow of runs or how to put pressure on the Australian batters. It seemed to be a team going through the motions at the end of a difficult tour.
Spinner Keshav Maharaj acknowledged that it had not been a good series but backed the Proteas batters to follow the example of Khawaja and Smith, who showed that a bit of application and patience could be rewarded on the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch when it was their turn to bat.
Maharaj has typified South Africa’s struggles down under. His first wicket on the tour was that of Smith, shortly after he reached his 30th Test century. Maharaj admitted that he wasn’t in the best of form.
“I’ve been working really hard. Sometimes you have ebbs and flows in your career and I think it’s one of those that are happening right now. That’s all I can allude to right now. It’s not about preparation or lack of work. Maybe the body is a bit tired… It’s not from a lack of effort,” Maharaj said.
Usman Khawaja will resume on 195 when play gets under way on Friday morning. Matt Renshaw will be at the crease with him on 5.