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