Newlands pitch may force Proteas to pick spinner

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The Proteas will most likely pick a spinner for the second Test against Pakistan at Newlands, starting on Thursday, after Kagiso Rabada described the surface as “dull” after having a look at it on Tuesday.

Rabada and his Proteas teammates had there first look at the Newlands pitch two days out from the game and the general consensus is that it will last the full five days.

With Vernon Philander returning from injury, the home side are contemplating leaving out spinner Keshav Maharaj for an all out pace attack.

However, with the weather expected to be hot for the duration of the game and the pitch not as green as it was for the Test against India in January last year it would be a major risk for the hosts leave out their only specialist slow-bowler.

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The 23-year-old Rabada told the media at Newlands on Tuesday: “We have been talking about the pitch already, it looks a little dull; in a way that it looks like it might be five days here.

“We made a joke with (groundsman) Evan [Flint].

“But you never know with cricket pitches… who knows what will happen. It looks like a good wicket.

“Whenever I have come here it has always been a good contest between bat and bowl.”

If Maharaj gets the nod then the Proteas could drop seamer Duanne Oliver, who took 11 wickets and was named man of the match in the first Test victory in Centurion.

Another route they could take is to leave out a batsman and let Philander be part of a five man bowling attack which will also ease the workload on the pacemen.

Rabada was giving nothing away in terms of what the Proteas management are thinking ahead of the game.

The fast bowler said: “I don’t like to get involved in team selection and all that, it’s not my place.

“But it is a bit of a headache now. People are talking about if Vern comes back or Duanne will play.

“But it is a good headache to have so we will see what happens.”

By Nasri Alexander

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