Eng vs SA 2022 – Charl Langeveldt urges South Africa to join points in pursuit of Test series win
The teams went almost head-to-head in results (one ODI each, one T20I each before South Africa won the series, one Test won by one leg each), personnel issues (Rassie van der Dussen will miss the third test and see a finger specialist while Jonny Bairstow will also be out to see an ankle specialist) and styles of play (with the accepted narrative that their bowling attacks are just as strong but the middle order of England is ahead of that of South Africa) and there is one fixture left to separate them. For Langeveldt, South Africa’s task is simple, although “easier said than done”: runs on the board and wickets in the sack.
Langeveldt can’t speak for South Africa’s batting except to say he thinks he’s ‘improved’ recently and only needs to be able to do just enough to give the bowlers something what to work with. Anything, really, because Langeveldt is optimistic about their abilities and their determination to improve further. “When we have runs on the board, we have the bowling offense to put them under pressure. We have a saying – 18 consecutive balls gets us a wicket,” Langeveldt said.
That’s more of an ideal than a mantra at the moment, as South Africa have so far failed to play 18 successive goalless balls in the Test series. Their longest string is 15, in the first innings of the second Test, and it did not result in a wicket. The most run balls they have played before taking a wicket is seven, and it came before Marco Jansen fired James Anderson to wrap up the first Test.
But Langeveldt had a larger point about suppressing scoring opportunities and creating pressure. “It’s no use if a guy is playing good on one side and we lose soft boundaries – not a lot of boundaries – but sometimes we take the pressure off and have to touch that up. If you get 18 balls in a good area , you ask good questions and you will have a window.”
South Africa have conceded a boundary almost every two and a half years (15.5 balls) in this series, compared to England’s boundary every three and a half years (20.9 years). This allows the batters a release. When they are able to plug that in, they take wickets. Of the 30 English wickets to fall in the series so far, 13 have come after a period of at least two no-limit overs.
“Lungi impressed me. His pace picked up. He worked hard,” Langeveldt said. “He went to the IPL and I said just work on your physical condition and make your action repeatable. He also developed the ball slower and spent a lot of time with Dwayne Bravo and then there are other things we worked on – to get the wide yorker, the straight yorker and the slower ball bouncer But his slower ball has come a long way and people are really struggling to pick it up.
Ngidi’s development as a bowler saw him favored over Jansen for the second Test, where South Africa fielded two specialist spinners in anticipation of a surface that would transform over the final two days. The match didn’t last long enough to see if their selection was justified and it’s too early to say if they will follow the same path as The Oval. While Langeveldt called it “the best English summer ever” due to the heat and dryness, four days before the third test the pitch had good cover of green grass and with rain forecast. ahead of the game, a quick four return might be more likely.
All of them, along with van der Dussen’s replacement in the squad, Wiaan Mulder, were training at full speed on Sunday, South Africa’s second day back to work after their break. They returned to the net on Saturday at the London School of Economics grounds in New Malden, but plan to keep a low profile on Monday before final preparations begin on Tuesday. This is also when England will regroup after 10 days apart and a bit of golf. The decision maker waits.
With statistics entries from Shiva Jayaraman
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in South Africa