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Merv Hughes Explains Where It Went Wrong For The South African Bowlers At The MCG

Aussie fast bowling legend Merv Hughes has explained where it went wrong for the much vaunted South African bowling attack when they conceded a mammoth 8/575d against Australia in the Boxing Day Test.

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“[Anrich] Nortje, especially on that really hot day, he bowled 15-16 overs and he was getting through with pace,” Merv said on the post-Boxing Day Test edition of Willow Talk.

“But they didn’t seem to have a team plan, and they weren’t bowling in partnerships.

“We talk about batting in partnerships, but bowling in partnerships works just as well.

“South Africa seemed a little bit disjointed with the way they bowled. You had Rabada and Ngidi that at times looked disinterested, and had Maharaj that really didn’t look threatening at all.

“You had Nortje that was running in and really having a red hot go, that’s what they needed to do from the other four bowlers, and build pressure.

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“It was almost as though the Australians could score at will.”

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Merv used an example of an Australian team plan that had worked to highlight South Africa’s errors.

“The Australians come in with Dean Elgar, they know he gets tucked up around leg stump,” he said.

“Pat Cummins exploited that, they get him caught behind for very little, so obviously it’s a team plan, and that’s what the South Africans have gotta do.

“They’ve gotta have a team plan, and they’ve gotta be able to bowl to it, and then if that doesn’t work from a bowling group, you’ve gotta have a plan B.”

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