Proteas head coach Shukri Conrad defended Newlands head groundsman Braam Mong after this week’s second Test against India ended inside five sessions.
India beat South Africa by seven wickets on day two at Newlands in Cape Town to level the two-Test series one-all. This was Mong’s first Test as Newlands head groundsman.
“I know Braam. He’s a good guy. Sometimes good guys do bad things. Or get things wrong. This doesn’t turn Braam into a rubbish groundsman, just like 55 all out doesn’t turn us into a rubbish cricket team – a few days ago we thrashed them,” said Conrad.
“I’m sure there will be a lot of learnings for Braam. I’ll go across there at some stage and wish him well going forward, and see what his thoughts are.
“It’s easy to rubbish certain things, but you’ve got to feel for groundsmen. Just like cricketers and coaches, who have to take it on the chin, my message to Braam would be to take it on the chin and move forward.”
The Proteas were bowled out for 55 in the first innings and 176 in the second, when opener Aiden Markram hit a century. India responded with 153 all out and 80 for three.
“I don’t know what people want me to say – whether it was a rubbish wicket or not. But you only need to look at the scores, a one-and-a-half day Test match, and the way they chased a little target of 79,” added Conrad.
“It’s a sad state when you need more luck than skill to survive in a Test match. All the ethics and values of Test cricket go out the window. This was just a slugfest, a slogathon.
“That’s taking nothing away from India; they were superb. But you ain’t going to win too many Test matches scoring 50-odd. You’ve got to own it, and we own it. It wasn’t great; both the cricket and the wicket.”