South Africa A ready to end tour on a positive note


South Africa A captain Aiden Markram is expecting a much more energetic performance from his side when they play the England Lions in the final match of their tour starting in Canterbury on Wednesday.

The four-day encounter at The Spitfire Ground is meant to be the highlight of what has been a difficult tour and the visitors will be desperate to end the month-long trip on a high.

They won one of their two first-class, warm-up matches against Hampshire last week, but that has been their only success on the tour.

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The South Africans lost the one-day leg 2-0 against the Lions after the third match was washed out, along with their two pre-series, warm-up games, while they fell to an innings and 50-run loss to Sussex in their last outing.

Young skipper Markram has predicted an improved performance compared to that game.

“Preparations have gone well since Sussex,” he said. “We’ve had some good team chats and a few good net sessions.

“There’s definitely more energy amongst the guys, which is what I believed we lacked last week against Sussex.”

The England Lions will be led by Keaton Jennings, the son of former South Africa wicketkeeper Ray Jennings.

The Johannesburg-born batsman is one of two fully-capped England Test players in their squad, with the other being young opener, Haseeb Hameed.

The tourists boast a host of Proteas Test players – namely Theunis de Bruyn, Temba Bavuma, Dane Piedt and Duanne Olivier and Markram has predicted a tough outing in St Lawrence.

“The Lions are a good side and there’s a few guys from them who have played at the highest level,” he said.

But the SA A captain wants his players to focus fully on their own strengths.

“We haven’t looked too much into their side,” he added. “We’ve focused more on what we as a team need to do to get our competitive juices flowing.

“Bringing energy and sharpness will be key. So we definitely will be up for the fight and come Wednesday, I think the squad will be in a really good space.”