South Africa’s head coach Ottis Gibson reckons that their team will not be distracted by the off-field drama as they are nor focussing on the second Test against Australia that starts in Port Elizabeth on Friday. The two teams have been at loggerheads over who prompted an incident in the players’ tunnel when Australian opener David Warner had to be restricted by teammates as he discharged a verbal fire at South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.
Talking about the incident, Gibson said, “The team morale is very good. We are the Proteas, we back each other up. We are trying to focus on ourselves and to focus on the cricket. Everyone is looking forward to the cricket, all the off-field stuff must remain off the field. We want to get back to the cricket.”
Warner was fined 75 percent of his match fee along with three demerit points by the International Cricket Council over the brawl, one short of the number that would have triggered an automatic one-match suspension. De Kock was given a 25 percent fine and one demerit point.
Key for the hosts in the second Test will be quashing the reverse swing that the Australians are able to generate on what is likely to be an irritating Port Elizabeth pitch. Seamer Mitchell Starc was especially proficient at finding immense movement in the opening encounter that Australia won by 118 runs.
When asked about the preparations of the Second Test, Gibson said, “We have to bat better. When you look at the nature of the pitch and the Aussie lineup you feel that you need an extra batsman. We bowled them out twice but we weren’t able to get enough runs in the first innings. You can’t bat badly in your first innings against a top team like Australia and expect to win the match. We have seen how Starc has bowled to our tail, he has been very aggressive but has also pitched the ball up and hit the stumps. He has been a challenge for us.”