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Maharaj expresses frustration over tough tour, rampant Aussie batting

South African spinner Keshav Maharaj expressed his frustrations on Thursday over what he described as “a very tough tour” coming up against a rampant Australian batting line-up.

With Australia roaring to 475/4 at stumps on the second day of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Proteas had conceded over a thousand runs and taken just a dozen wickets in their last two innings of bowling. Maharaj caught-and-bowled Steven Smith for 104 for his first wicket of the series in the final Test of the rubber.

Read more: Rain limits play and one supposes SA don’t mind as Australia pile up 475/4

“It’s been a really tough tour,” Maharaj admitted. “At the start of this game we expected the pitch to turn a lot more. I think the weather has been a big factor, the pitch getting a bit wet.

“I haven’t changed much, I’m still working hard. Sometimes you just have these ebbs and flows in your career, maybe my body is a bit tired, I don’t know. I wish I was a machine that you could just plug in.

“These are good pitches in Australia and there’s not as much spin as we are used to elsewhere in the world, although there is bounce you can work with. And bowling when you’re behind the eight-ball is tough, with spread fields and in-batsmen.

“It’s about being consistent and I probably haven’t been, I’ve dished up a few, which is something I need to address. It’s probably about keeping the mind fresh rather than bowling more,” Maharaj said.

One of the best

South Africa’s first-choice spinner said Australia have one of the best batting line-ups in the game and they have been able to dominate thanks to the platform laid up front. David Warner scored a double-century in the second Test in Melbourne, and his opening partner Usman Khawaja was 195 not out at the end of the second day in Sydney.

“Fair play to Australia, their opening batsmen have created a good foundation for them to play freely. But you can’t take anything away from their batsmen, they have very sound, clear plans and they stick to them.

“Usman is a different player against spin than he was here in 2016 and in South Africa in 2018/19, he has played all around the wicket, taking his scoring opportunities and he has very good hands.

“Travis Head is probably one of the best timers of the ball in international cricket and he has played very well, scoring fifties in all three Tests. It comes from the platform set up front, it gives him licence.

“It’s one of the more experienced batting line-ups and the top-order makes sure there is a strong base so the middle-order can play aggressively. The Australian batting line-up is one of the best in the world,” Maharaj said.

Read more: ‘Talk is cheap … it’s time to make amends,’ says Elgar about Sydney Test



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