Australia coach Darren Lehmann says his team’s batsmen must take lessons from the way Proteas duo, Hashim Amla and Dean Elgar, batted in the first innings of the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
After the Aussies collapsed from 98/0 to be bowled out for 243, the home team scored 382 in their first innings at the crease to take a significant 139-run lead.
Although AB de Villiers scored a majestic century, it was Elgar (57 off 197 balls) and Amla (56 off 148 deliveries) that set it up with a stand of 88 for the second wicket, that was not always pretty.
The pair batted for 46.2 overs to take the sting out of Australia’s pace attack and, according to Lehmann, allowed De Villiers to play freely when he came in.
Lehman said: “Certainly I thought Elgar and Amla showed our blokes a little bit how to get through that and as we know when your bowlers are starting to bowl 25 overs an innings it is starting to get to be tough work.
“You make your runs at the back end against quality attacks and that’s what we’ve got to get better at.
“Not enough runs in the first innings as you saw, at 0 for 98 I thought we were going really well, and then that either-side period of tea we lost 4 for 9 and 8 for 80 in that, and then 10-11 did really well to get us to 243, but still it was 50-75 runs short.
“If we have those runs … and we’re probably short in the second innings to be fair, short another 50 there. Batting’s got to improve as we know.”
The Aussies coach praised the way De Villiers came in and took the attack to his bowlers, the batsman striking 126 not out off 146 balls.
However, while saying that the Proteas number four is a world-class players, Lehmann also said that his bowlers could have been a bit better.
Lehmann explained: “I don’t think we bowled as well to [de Villiers] as we could’ve, that’s an area we can certainly improve on, but in general I think our bowling was first-rate again.
“If we had the extra 100 runs it would’ve been a rip-snorter of a Test match. From our point of view to AB we’ve got to bowl better to him, he’s a class player.”
The third Test of the four-match series starts at Newlands on 22 March.