SA vs Ind 2021-22, Cape Town Test

To analyse

His display on day one in Cape Town showed why South Africa is keen to stay with him

Marco Jansen is not a gentle giant. Just ask Jasprit Bumrah. At the Wanderers, Jansen hit him twice in all three balls in the same spot with short-pitched deliveries that Bumrah carried over his right shoulder. When Jansen delivered a fourth short ball and Bumrah again defended with his body, Jansen sprayed him with a selection of nasty picks.
But Jansen isn’t a towering brute either. Better than that. Just look at the way he played against Cheteshwar Pujara in Newlands. He started his third spell with a full delivery that bowed and Pujara grazed him for four. Immediately he stepped back his length and got the ball to move and find the top of Pujara’s cushion. Pujara offered no shots and although any bodyweight appeal was muffled by the height of the impact, Jansen had issued a warning. With his next ball, he adjusted the line and had Pujara play around the fifth strain to find an advantage.

This wicket was especially important because South Africa had allowed the half-hours to drift on either side of the lunch. Pujara and Virat Kohli’s third wicket had grown to 62, and bulk deliveries were offered at least once a year. On ground that offered less bounce than the Highveld surfaces the teams come from, the bowlers had to bring in other skills and Jansen showed he had them.

“He’s got a burning desire to play here. He’s got the X factor and he’s a tough character,” Kagiso Rabada said. “That’s what you’re looking for. And then the natural talent is there. He has the ability to win games. It’s an exciting prospect.”
Today’s play underscored exactly why South Africa stayed with Jansen instead of returning to all-round hitter Wiaan Mulder. Jansen started looking for a swing after India lost their first matches and pressure had to be put on. He pushed the ball away slightly from Kohli and Pujara, who took a long time to settle but were able to start long. Finally, at the end of that five-over period, Jansen found the delivery he was looking for when he beat Kohli with a ball that fell on the stump of his leg, tipped late, veered to the away and beat his back foot defense. Kohli’s ribs were spared the blow, but he was surprised. Then Jansen changed sides.

On Wynberg’s side, Jansen opted to bypass the wicket to bring the ball into the outside batters and force them to play more. Kohli left the first but was near his stump, he ducked under the second and blocked the third. In Jansen’s next round, the last of the morning session, he allowed just one ball to go alone, down from 18 in his first five overs. His change of angle allowed him to get closer to the hitters and required more of them than to shoulder their arms, dodge or watch the ball go by. That’s what he used to send Pujara away after lunch.

Jansen could have had a second wicket two balls later when Ajinkya Rahane rushed to defend and took off, but luck was far from slipping away. Three balls later, Rahane was forward again but found the middle of the bat and pushed the ball through the covers for four. Kohli was able to play a similar shot and another forehand past Jansen for four, but the impressive aspect of that spell was how Jansen held up. Although he punctuated his overs with short balls, he didn’t seem to be failing them just because. Instead, he worked on his cutters, tried to find the right outside line that could capitalize on a batting error, and showed he understands the importance of small margins when it comes to length.

When Jansen played too full, he conceded 39 points on 14 balls. But when he adjusted to a good length, he gave just six runs on 44 balls and took two wickets. The second of these was in his last spell of the day when R Ashwin was installed the same way as Pujara. First Jansen tempted it by hanging an outside delivery and Ashwin left, then Jansen changed angles, managed to clear the ball away from Ashwin and got a slight advantage over Kyle Verreynne .

Prior to that, Jansen had a layoff that one would expect more for a bowler his size. He defeated Rishabh Pant with an extra rebound as he attempted to lead a delivery over the ravine, but was caught instead.

Both of those wickets showed Jansen’s versatility, much like the kind of pitcher Morne Morkel matured towards the end of his career. After being known for years for bouncing Steyn’s swing, when Steyn was injured it was Morkel who put on performances with a reverse swing, starting with the 2015 India tour. series, Morkel has enjoyed some of the greatest successes. of his career, taking 91 wickets in 22 tests at 22.90 compared to 218 wickets in 64 tests at 29.66 before this series.

Jansen is not Morkel either. He’s 10cm taller (2m, 6cm vs. 1.96 for Morkel) and plays for a team that were probably 10 steps shorter than South Africa when Morkel made his debut. As a result, he might have to grow 10 times faster. Rabada believes this is already the case. “Look at Marco, who just came in. He’s playing against Virat who has been one of the best players of this generation. What better learning can he take? Not much.”

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s correspondent in South Africa

Leave a Comment