"Never, ever, ever seen a wicket that green." Langer
Former Australian player and coach Justin Langer was disappointed by the early finish in the Test match at the Gabba.
Australia wrapped up a six wicket win over South Africa inside two days in Brisbane, with a covering of live grass on the pitch offering prodigious seam movement and making life very difficult for batters.
“Never, ever, ever seen a wicket that green, and it’s really unfortunate, because the Gabba rarely gets it wrong, and they just got it wrong this time,” Langer told Sports Breakfast.
“On the first morning, I was with Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden, and we walked into the commentary box with a cup of coffee, looking forward to this highly anticipated series, and we all looked at each other and said ‘What is that? Where’s the wicket?’
“It’s not good for cricket, it’s not good for the spectators, it’s not good for the people at the ground, the people watching at home, the people watching on TV, it’s not great for the broadcasters, it’s not great for Cricket Australia or Queensland Cricket, so it’s a real pity it only went for two days.”
After the early finish afforded him the chance to have a precious few days at home over Christmas, Langer wants the Proteas to lift on Boxing Day.
“Leading into this series, we knew that South Africa would have a great bowling attack, and they do, although I was really disappointed with they way they came out on day two morning … they seemed really flat to me,” he said.
“The worry was their batting, and their techniques on a tough wicket got really exposed, and while they’ve got good first class experience, they haven’t got much Test experience, and for me, that’s going to be the difference in the series.
“Two world class bowling attacks, which batting team gets the better of it, and South Africa certainly have some soul searching to do after that Test match.”
Langer thinks Cameron Green, who he coached at both state and international level, will come up with a score in Melbourne after the West Australian all-rounder looked in better touch with the bat in the first innings in Brisbane before edging into the cordon for 18.
“He’s just learning his game, and it’s so hard coming into Test cricket. He’s been a run machine at Sheffield Shield cricket level as we know, he’s a tremendous talent, and he’s just learning the game,” he said.
“It’s hard to come in, there’s different pressures now, there’s a lot of people talking about his technique and how he should play and how he shouldn’t play. I’m really confident he’ll work that out, because like a young Phil Hughes or like a young Steve Smith, he didn’t just get picked on talent, he actually got picked because he scored so many runs.
“It was a real shame in that [first] innings, because jeez he looked good, those drives down the ground, he looked like he was moving well, and I don’t think it’s far off.”
Pat Cummins’ side hold a 1-0 lead in the series with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and the New Year’s Test in Sydney to come.