Bavuma finds home comforts in Perth


Two South African batsmen have reason to feel at home when the first Test against Australia gets underway at the WACA in Perth this week.

Temba Bavuma and Stephen Cook play their domestic cricket at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on a pitch that is perhaps the most similar to the WACA that you could find.

The surface usually offers pace and bounce and while good for batting has a little something for the quicks to work with.

Speaking ahead of the Test Bavuma said: “Judging by the nets, it’s quite similar to the Wanderers. Here the bounce is a bit exaggerated. That’s a challenge I am looking forward to.”

Both Bavuma and Cook have yet to find their groove in Australia, struggling for form in the first warm up games but this has not flustered Cook, who said: “I haven’t scored that many runs since I’ve been here but I’m not too perturbed by that.

“Things were pretty good in a couple of domestic games back home and I’ve felt like I’ve been in decent touch.

“We all hit the ground running when it gets to the real stuff. Sometimes a lot gets read into practice games and situations like that but I’ve played this game for long enough to know that there’s no direct correlation between the two.”

Bavuma understands the need to adapt to the pitch as well as the game situation and said: “Where I bat in the middle order you generally have to be able to play the situation.

“There will be moments in the series where you have to take the attack to the opposition. It’s about me being able to recognise those moments and adjust.”

Bavuma has had to adjust to the pressure of playing Test cricket in a country where some wish him well and others would see him fail, with some quarters still convinced his presence in the team is to make up the CSA’s quotas but the diminutive right-hander takes that in his stride.

He added: “It’s a pressure I am trying to embrace and take in my stride. I want to improve and better myself all the time.”

Stephen Cook meanwhile is eager to emulate the feeling he felt when making a century on his long-awaited debut against England.

Cook concluded: “My first Test was a dream, but as cricketers we’re never satisfied. You get a taste for something and you want more. This is an iconic series. It’s been a series in which a lot of players’ and a lot of teams’ careers have been defined.

“Therein lies another wonderful opportunity for us as a team. It’s for me as an individual to make my stamp and put my mark on it.”