Barnes wants more from Proteas
England found South Africa’s pace attack tough going at Headingley Carnegie - but the tourists’ bowling coach Vinnie Barnes hopes his charges will be even more of a handful in the third Test at Edgbaston.
Barnes was encouraged by the improvement of the much-touted quartet from the first Test at Lord’s to the second in Leeds, where England were bowled out for 203 and then 327 on the way to a 10-wicket defeat.
He still believes, however, there is much more to come from Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and Jacques Kallis.
“I’m not satisfied yet,” Barnes said.
“I have spoken to each and every one of them (since the end of the second Test) - and they were probably 50% better (than at Lord’s).”
The South African fast bowlers clearly have a hard taskmaster - and on reflection, Barnes quickly revised his estimation of their progress.
“That’s probably too high,” he added, of his initial 50% rating.
“They were better, but we still have work to do.”
He nonetheless saw indications over the four days required to beat England in the second Test that strides had been made.
“There were periods where we bowled exceptionally well, to limit them to an eight-run partnership in an hour on the last morning and to keep the wicketkeeper (Tim) Ambrose and (Andrew) Flintoff quiet (in the afternoon),” he continued.
“But there are periods where we lose our disciplines and try to bowl teams out - especially at the nine, 10 and 11.”
One of those tail end positions was inhabited by Stuart Broad in the second innings at Headingley, where his unbeaten 67 ensured South Africa would - against expectations - have to bat twice for their win.
Barnes has since specified to each of his fast bowlers what they need to do before the start of the third Test next Wednesday.
“Purely from where we were at Lord’s to where we are now, is a lot different,” he explained.
“But we still have to tweak it here and there. Dale has got his pace up nicely; he is hitting some good areas, but he still tries to look for that ‘millionaire’ ball.
“He just has to stay nice and disciplined.
“It was good to see Makhaya running in quite hard again. That’s what I want to see from Makhaya.”
As for Morkel, a more consistent line is on Barnes’ wish-list.
“I actually think his lines were more important than his lengths,” the bowling coach said of the 6ft 7in beanpole, so adept at unsettling top-class batsmen with his bounce as well as pace.
“He was either too wide outside the off or down the leg. But overall, I am very happy with where they are.”
Much of the fine-tuning will go on in the nets rather than in this week’s tour match against Bangladesh A at Worcester - where Morkel, Steyn and opening batsman Neil McKenzie are likely to be rested alongside, possibly, captain Graeme Smith. Seamers Andre Nel and Monde Zondeki, left-arm spinner Robin Peterson and batsman JP Duminy can expect to play.