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Proteas’ Khaya Zondo would just like a Test he plays in to last at least three days

Johannesburg – While not wanting to read too much into what kind of pitch South Africa and Australia will encounter for the historic Boxing Day Test next week, Khaya Zondo said he’d just be happy if the match made it to a third day.

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“I was saying to one of my teammates, that the two games that I got (to play in) have finished in two days, they’ve both been hectically (sic), very bowling friendly pitches,” Zondo said on Wednesday.

Last year’s Ashes Test at the MCG finished in three days and the pitch for that match, which Australian batter Steve Smith said was the most difficult he’d played on in Australia – before last week’s match in Brisbane – was also strongly criticised.

“If that game finished in three days, that is longer than the two games I’ve played – that’s better than what I’ve gotten so far,” he smiled. “We will wait and see what we get.”

Although Zondo officially made his Test debut as a substitute against Bangladesh in April, he’s played in only two full Tests; at the Oval against England in the third Test of that series which only just made it into a third morning before it’s conclusion, while at Brisbane last week, the first Test finished in two days. Zondo top scored for South Africa with an unbeaten 36 in the second innings of a match which Australia won by six wickets.

The Gabba received one demerit point for what was described as a “below average” for that match. “Overall, the Gabba pitch for this Test match was too much in favour of the bowlers,” said match referee, Richie Richardson.

“There was extra bounce and occasional excessive seam movement. The odd delivery also kept low on the second day, making it very difficult for batters to build partnerships.”

Venues can be suspended for a year if they pick up five demerit points and for two years if they pick up 10. Demerit points remain active for a rolling five-year period.

Zondo said the sanction handed out to the Gabba had not been discussed by the players.

Instead their focus had turned to the second Test where the Proteas hope to square the series on a surface that will provide a fairer contest between bat and ball.

“We don’t choose the conditions we get to play on, that’s the card we’ve been dealt with. As a batter I’d love a flat track, the bowlers would hate it,” said Zondo.

Given all the controversy generated by the Gabba pitch, Zondo believes those in charge of preparing the strip at the MCG, will be under pressure. “There will be an effort to make sure it is more fair in terms of (the competition) between bat and ball.”

As for the Proteas, who had a training session in Brisbane on what would have been the last day of the first Test, it was a case of not allowing any preconceived notions about the conditions cloud their judgement before they travelled to Melbourne.

“I believe you can’t play a game until you are actually in it, thinking what the pitch will be like is not a good space for us as a team or batters until you actually get there and see what it is,” said Zondo.

@shockerhess

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