Tahir in the wickets as SA A win
LEG-spinner Imran Tahir will join the Proteas in England with a measure of confidence after bowling a healthy 22 overs in South Africa A’’s innings and eight runs victory over Sri Lanka A at Kingsmead on Monday.
The Proteas left for a pre-tour camp in Switzerland yesterday while Tahir, who finished with figures of 3-82, will join the team later in the week.
“My plan was to give him a go in the first innings but it was tough because the fast bowlers had taken out [Sri Lanka A batsmen] in 45 overs,” SA A captain Faf du Plessis said.
Tahir was using the first-class game to sharpen his skills for the Proteas tour of England, where he hopes to make a striking contribution to the pace-reliant attack.
“Imran is a gun in any bowling attack so I gave him a bowl in the 18th over. It was important for me to just give him a run; I had the bigger picture in mind,” Du Plessis explained.
“It would have been easy to bring back the seamers to try to get more wickets but in the back of my mind I wanted to give him the rest of the day to bowl so that he feels comfortable.
“He’’s really confident in his bowling. He came to me and said the ball is coming out of his hand nicely.
“In the beginning he was just getting used to bowling again, he bowled a few full tosses, but after the sixth over he was landing the balls regularly on a good spot. As any spinner would say, the more you bowl, the more confident you get.
“He can bowl as much as he wants to in the nets but those 22 overs he bowled will give him confidence for the England tour.”
After declaring on their overnight score of 425 and with a 255 run lead, SA A wrapped up the match just after tea, dismissing Sri Lanka A for 247 in their second innings, with a day to spare. Sri Lanka A had been bowled out for a paltry 170 on day one.
Ryan McLaren had put the squeeze on the visitors early in the day, grabbing three quick wickets within the first hour of play and went on to finish with 5-60.
Rory Kleinveldt broke the only meaningful Sri Lanka A partnership when he dismissed Dilruwan Perera for 48, ending an 83-run fourth wicket stand shared with Roshen Silva (50). From there the tourists threw the bat at every delivery.
Tahir toiled for 15 overs before getting his first breakthrough, bowling Kosala Kulasekara clean through but he soon followed that wicket up with that of Dhammika Prasad.
The Sri Lankan A tail skied almost every delivery they connected with and it wasn’t long before Tahir wrapped up the match with a confidence-boosting third wicket, that of Malinda Pushpakumara who lobbed an easy catch to McLaren at point.