At least our body language is better, says SA cricket star Morris
But that alone isn’t enough for the Proteas to cure their World Cup losing streak.
While the Proteas can draw some solace from the fact that their bowling unit finally lived up to some of the hype before the World Cup, they are still disturbingly short of answers after crashing to their third successive defeat in losing to India by six wickets in Southampton on Wednesday.
Captain Faf du Plessis declined to front the media after the loss, which leaves South Africa on the brink of elimination before the end of the first week of the tournament, despite having said on the eve of the game that the team are looking to him to lead.
Instead, Morris, Hashim Amla and Tabraiz Shamsi all found it difficult to explain where the passion they showed in the field on Wednesday had been in the opening two games.
Late call-up Morris, who had an excellent all-round game as he also returned figures of 10-3-36-1, drew the short straw and replaced his skipper at the post-match press conference and did at least point to body language as being important.
“What is non-negotiable for us is body language and that let us down in the first two games. Today it was quite good and we stayed in the fight, overall we were pretty good in the field. Body language had a lot to do with it.
“Especially when defending low totals, anything can happen and it did in the first five overs but things just did not land for us with the ball spooning into no-man’s land three times. We created some opportunities but unfortunately things just didn’t go for us otherwise India could have been 14 for three. I thought we bowled really well with the new ball and in general for India to need 48 overs to get 230,” Morris said.
With the Hampshire Bowl shrouded in cloud, batting first was a call that showed positive intent, but, looking down at the toss, Du Plessis would have seen a straw-coloured pitch that looked exactly like the batting-friendly tracks this venue is known for.
But Indian captain Virat Kohli confirmed afterwards that the pitch did much more than even they expected and Bumrah and Chahal were much too good for a batting line-up with scrambled brains and precious little confidence.
“We saw what Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar did with the new ball and the extra bounce they got. Faf said batting was like in the first hour of a Test match so we also tried to hit those hard lengths. There was enough in the pitch all through and for someone like Rohit, who is normally a quick-flowing batsman, to take so long [128 balls] to score his hundred shows how well we bowled,” Morris said.
In terms of where to from here for the Proteas, Morris could not offer much more than the fact that they have to win all of their remaining six games.
“If I had the answer as to how we start winning then I would be the head coach. But we only have nine games and we’ve lost three in a row, so it’s pretty simple – we have to win the next six. I know everyone in that changeroom is very disappointed and even a bit angry.”
It would seem the fans back home are going through much stronger emotions. The Citizen