Neil Brand doesn’t think temporary South Africa is miles away from New Zealand – LSB

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Knowing they could become the first South African team to lose a Test series to New Zealand, Neil Brand’s men are “desperate to do well” in the Hamilton Test, and believe they are better than the 281-run defeat at Mount Maunganui suggests.

“I don’t think we’re miles away,” said Brand, the South African stand-in captain. “I told the players afterwards I think we were good for about 65% of the game.” “Obviously we have to learn very quickly at this level, and this is something we desperately need to do and correct.”

Brand identified South Africa’s batting as the biggest concern after their dismissals of 162 and 247 and only one of their batsmen, David Bedingham, passing 50. For Brand, the top three finishes are a particular focal point. “We have to do the right things for a longer period of time, and I personally have to find a way to beat the new ball, which was difficult in these conditions,” he said. “The wicket seems to get better at batting the longer you can stay out there. So, it’s just about keeping our confidence high and making sure we keep believing in ourselves.”

Between them, Brand, his opening partner Eddie Moore and one drop Reynard van Tonder, scored 61 runs in six innings in the first Test. They were all making their debuts. Moore bounced around in the first innings and drove the ball from midair in the second half, Brand’s shot selection was uncertain against the moving ball and Van Tonder was dismissed twice by Kyle Jamieson, who brought the ball back inside and tested his technique on the front foot. . There’s no quick fix for any of this, especially among players new to playing at this level, but it wasn’t all bad. Moore spent 50 minutes in the middle in the first innings, Van Tonder was at the crease for an hour and 23 minutes in the second innings and they did some work protecting the middle order, who all started.

Zubair Hamza, Keegan Pietersen and Bedingham all got double figures in both innings and with Test experience are expected to form the backbone of South Africa’s effort. Bedingham, in particular, comes into the series with a lot of expectations around him after making his debut against India. “We want him to step up and get a big result for us,” Brand said.

On the other side of that coin, South Africa’s attack is looking for ways to be more clinical after conceding 511 runs in the first half and 179 in 43 overs in the second half. Both times, they found New Zealand in early trouble by scores of 39 for 2 and 10 for 1, but were unable to capitalize. It didn’t help that they wasted chances against Kane Williamson and Rashin Ravindra, who scored 118 and 240 respectively, but regardless, Brand remains hopeful they can find more ways to take wickets with the old ball. “We were really good with the new ball in both innings. I understand this wicket might be a little different but we just want more options from the 20 over to the end. [second] New ball so we can break down this middle system. “We increased the pressure but we couldn’t find ways to hit the old ball.”

For variety in attack, South Africa could look to sign all-rounder Mihlali Mbongwana, who might add some pace, or one of their spinners – Dane Bedt or Sean von Berg. While many will wonder why, with SA20 completed at the weekend, South Africa cannot call on some of its favorite players to boost stocks, the answer lies in travel time and jet lag. New Zealand is 11 hours ahead of South Africa, and the shortest flight route is just over 19 hours. To combat fatigue and jet lag, players are required to be in the country for at least a week before playing, making it impossible to add anyone else to the tour group.

Instead, South Africa will have to make do with what they have, and most of these players have another chance to show what they can offer at international level. Despite how difficult it is, Brand hopes some of them will embrace it.

“The Test match was really tough. On the third day I was very tired. Dane Bidt said Hashim Amla told him that every day feels like a (full) Test match when you play Test cricket,” he said. “But I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person and I really like being in that environment, so hopefully I can put on some good performances.”

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