“It’s a good batting wicket in the first and second innings. It’s just that there’s something for pace bowlers in the first 10-15 overs when you start the match and bowl first,” said Luus after South Africa’s loss in the second ODI.
“It was a fresh wicket today and there was a lot of movement. I felt that their opening bowlers bowled well with the new ball.”
Jhulan Goswami and Mansi Joshi, replacing Monica Patel in the XI for India, began well with the ball, dismissing openers Lizelle Lee and Laura Wolvaardt inside the first six overs. While Goswami trapped Lee in front of the sticks, Wolvaardt nicked one behind off Joshi.
The veteran Goswami eventually finished with four for 42, her seventh four-wicket haul in the format, and Joshi returned two for 23. Luus said that the Protea batters will have to adapt to the height that Goswami bowls from.
“She’s a lot taller that most women we play against. You have got to play her like you play a length of a man,” said Luus, who scored 36. “She bowls the ball from a very high end, so the ball will automatically get more bounce and it sneaks on you.”“We’ve fairly played her well. Today unfortunately it was the soft dismissals off her (that cost us). I think she bowled extremely well in the first ten, asking the right questions. We have to see through the first ten overs where she’s more dangerous and try and capitalize when she comes back.”
After the first couple of wickets, Luus and Lara Goodall resurrected the South African innings, adding 60 for the third wicket. Once that stand came to an end with Luus’ dismissal, the tourists lost their way to fold up for a mere 157.
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“When the openers fall early, it’s my job to stabilize the innings and try and build partnerships with whoever is in with me and then try and stay there for as long as I can,” she said about her role at no.3.
“When we lose Lizelle or Laura quite early, it’s my job to rebuild the innings and take it as deep as we can. After the partnership myself and Lara had, we needed Mignon (du Preez) or Kappie (Marizanne Kapp) and the batters coming in next to just continue with the run-rate and the momentum we had.”
India coasted to the 158-run target to register a nine-wicket win, with Smriti Mandhana and Punam Raut hitting unbeaten half centuries. Luus, who went for 28 runs in the four overs she bowled, also backed her as well as left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba to come good in the remaining matches.