Bowling balance is 'fantastic' - Gilchrist
Australia found the ideal bowling balance at Cape Town and the three fast men should be confident of playing in Friday's second Test at Durban, according to Adam Gilchrist. Gilchrist, the vice-captain, said the attack now had "fantastic variety", and the superb performance has not helped Stuart MacGill's prospects of making a strong impact on the series.
MacGill was expected to play at Cape Town, but Stuart Clark was a late inclusion and picked up 9 for 89 on debut while Brett Lee and Michael Kasprowicz also performed well as Australia won by seven wickets. "When previously we had three quick bowlers in the group there were question marks or perhaps slight criticism that, other than Brett, the other two or three were very similar and much the same as each other," Gilchrist told AAP. "But it seems that the balance of this bowling line-up had fantastic variety."
Gilchrist said on the evidence of the first Test the seam bowlers should arrive in Durban in an upbeat mood. "We're well-stocked, well-balanced and hoping to carry this momentum into the rest of the series," Gilchrist said. "It was line ball whether we played three and one or two spinners, and I think we got it right with the selections."
Six catches helped Gilchrist stay ahead of Mark Boucher on the all-time wicketkeeper's list and move him to within 12 dismissals of Rod Marsh's 355. "To walk off with a keeping performance that I took every chance that came my way really, that's as pleasing as anything I can do in the game of cricket," Gilchrist said. Marsh sits second behind Ian Healy's 395, which is made up of 366 catches and 29 stumpings in 119 Tests.
Two days after the match the bowler-friendly surface is still being discussed and Gilchrist said it "wasn't particularly great". "We would all like one that offers a bit to bowlers early on and then plays well through the middle and breaks up towards the end," he said. "There was a lot of movement off the wicket and it made for exciting cricket, I guess. But I hope, from a batting point of view, we get something a bit flatter and without so much sideways movement."
Micky Arthur, the South Africa coach, had asked before the match for the pitch to suit the seamers, but he agreed the surface was "not ideal". "It was very dry when we arrived and Christo [Erasmus] obviously wet it," Arthur said. "I think he might have put too much moisture in it. Ultimately, it didn't play as we wanted." South Africa were dismissed for 205 and 197 and lost the Test in three days.