- Proteas stand-in coach Malibongwe Maketa said the gap between them and Australia wasn’t as wide as the series results suggested.
- The Proteas lost the first two Tests of the three-match series against Australia by wide margins, but fought back to draw the third Test.
- Maketa said the series could’ve been different if they had the rub of the green in the first Test in Brisbane.
Proteas interim coach Malibongwe Maketa feels that the gap between them Australia isn’t as big as some are suggesting despite being on the receiving end of a heavy series loss.
The Proteas lost the first Test in Brisbane by six wickets and the second Test in Melbourne by an innings but dug deep in the third Test that concluded on Sunday to force a draw.
The Proteas, for the better part of the series, especially in the batting department, indeed looked like passengers.
Maketa acknowledged the quality of the Australia team, but felt that if they had the rub of the green with the toss in Brisbane, that first Test match outcome would have been different.
“The quality of this Australian team is there for everybody to see, and they give you nothing,” Maketa said.
“They control their lengths very well and set their fields cleverly, so from an experience and quality perspective, I can’t say it’s difficult to gauge the gap because they’ve beaten us 2-0.
“How big is the gap? At the moment, it may feel big now, especially with how we played in the first two Tests.
“However, I don’t think it’s that big. If you look at our bowling attack and you look at the fact that we competed here, I believe that if two batters put their hands up in the first Test, we were in the game.
“We would’ve needed a lead of 100 runs and our bowling attack would’ve thrived in those conditions.
Maketa though also acknowledged that the quality of Australia’s bowling attack made even the best of domestic systems irrelevant.
“A lot of the guys at home are scoring runs, but I don’t believe that any first-class system across the world will prepare you for the quality of this Australian attack,” Maketa said.
“That means your first-class performers need to be exposed to the next level to close the gap for Test cricket.
“I believe in exposing the guys who are performing at first-class level through South Africa A and this team to get a feel of what being at this level is all about.”