Under COOKed

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October 28, 2016
Under COOKed

FAILED AT THE TOP: Stephen Cook

Proteas opener fails in Test tune-up as teammates shine

South Africa’s leading batsmen once again looked in good nick in the final warm-up match ahead of the first Test in Perth next week.

But there will be a growing concern about the form of opener Stephen Cook.

Cook went for a duck, while Hashim Amla didn’t reach double figures but the rest of the lineup got proper starts as they piled on 489 against a South Australian XI in their two-day clash.

Cook’s opening partner Dean Elgar enjoyed some good time in the middle with an innings of 117 off 143 balls.

Captain Faf du Plessis also registered a century (102 from 112) balls after missing out in the day-night fixture last week against a Cricket Australia XI.

Elgar and Du Plessis combined for a 179-run partnership for the fourth wicket after the Proteas lost three early wickets.

Rilee Rossouw (22) did his chances of pushing for a place in the starting XI in the series opener at the Waca next week no favours at all through his own poor shot selection, opening the face of the bat into a packed slip cordon.

Fellow southpaw Quinton de Kock, though, is seeing the ball – regardless of it being pink or red because “a ball is just a ball” – as big as a watermelon at the moment as he again blitzed 99 off just 94 balls to push South Africa towards a total in the region of 500.

There were also starts for Temba Bavuma (43) again and Vernon Philander (41 retired) with the former possibly looking to convert these cameos into something meaningful come Test match time.

Bavuma says: “It’s nice to be out there in a game situation, it beats the nets. Personally, I’ve struggled a little.

“Playing at Adelaide [Oval] and then coming and playing here at a club ground, it’s been contrasting conditions between the two.

“But for the other guys it’s been quite good and I’m sure as the tour goes on things will get better.”

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