Former Proteas fast bowler Shaun Pollock discusses the Centurion pitch with fellow commentator Robin Jackman.
Former Proteas great Shaun Pollock is concerned that the current seamer-friendly conditions are not helping to develop the South African Test team for the challenges that lie ahead over the next 12 months, and that Cricket South Africa's quality control governing pitch conditions has been found wanting.
"I understand that we haven't won our last four home series and that winning breeds confidence, but I'm more concerned with us honing the skills we will surely need over the next year," Pollock said as the countdown to the second Test against Sri Lanka at Kingsmead on Boxing Day continued.
It's certainly been a rock-'n-roll summer in South Africa so far, with pace bowlers capturing 83 of the 100 wickets to fall in the three Test matches against Australia and Sri Lanka.
That high strike-rate for the quicks is hardly surprising given the greentops that the groundsmen have been creating. Pace bowlers dominated the first Test against Australia at Newlands and the first Test against Sri Lanka at Centurion, with both matches lasting just two-and-a-half days. The former resulted in the quick men grabbing 31 of the 32 wickets to fall, while pace accounted for 25 of the 30 wickets to go down at Centurion.
Pace has nearly always been South Africa's bowling strength - off-spinner Hugh Tayfield is one of the few exceptions to this rule - so it's hardly a shock that it has accounted for most of the wickets to have fallen this season.
Pollock's point, however, is that South Africa are one of the top three countries in world cricket and that it is not necessary, or appropriate, to create conditions that so obviously suit their strengths.
"In the last Test, for example, it would have been interesting to see how we would have fared if we had had to face the current England attack of Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan, or even the Aussie pace attack of earlier in the summer," said Pollock.
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