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South Africa vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test

South Africa vs Sri Lanka, 1st Test

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Seamer backs bowlers to improve after chastening opening day against Sri Lanka

Wiaan Mulder, playing in his second Test 22 months after his debut, has assessed South Africa’s bowling performance as “a little bit shaky” and concluded that he doesn’t “think the guys are happy” with their efforts on day one of the Boxing Day Test.

On a seamer-friendly surface, Sri Lanka scored freely and quickly at SuperSport Park against an attack that lacked control upfront. “We bowled a little bit short. The chat was to hit the top of off stump,” Mulder said. “We didn’t execute and gave them a few freebies and they got away from us.”

Sri Lanka were scoring at more than four runs an over for most of their innings but South Africa pulled things back with three wickets in the final session. Mulder was responsible for two of those but said that he still regards himself as the workhorse of the attack.

“Finding fourth and fifth stump – that’s my role in the team,” Mulder said. “My job is not to be a strike bowler. It’s to keep the run rate down and the economy down.”

Mulder’s clarity over his job in the team contrasts starkly with former international quick, Makhaya Ntini’s, assessment. “It’s very simple for me, we bowled badly. Simple and clear,” Ntini said on pay television network SuperSport. “There was no communication between the bowlers, there was no communication from the captain’s point of view, and it looked like it was just anyone who needed to bowl or was asked to bowl, they would be thrown the ball and told: find your own way.”

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