Mitchell Starc’s Mankad warning at the MCG wasn’t missed by the South African batters who need to be “cleaner” or risk being run-out according to batter Temba Bavuma.
It will be chief among the many issues the battling Proteas batters need to address before the third and final test in Sydney with Bavuma declaring the tourists “simply haven’t been good enough” in back-to-back thrashings.
The loss in Melbourne could have been more swift if Starc had chosen to run-out creeping batter Thenis de Bruyn, instead of just repeatedly warning him for leaving his crease early.
Starc has the permission of his captain Pat Cummins to whip off the bails should he choose to, with the dismissal less now about acting within the spirit of the game given a rule change which moved it from the section of the game’s laws governing “unfair play” to the provisions around run outs.
The Aussie duo both said de Bruyn was “taking the mickey” he was doing it so often and Bavuma said the batters were fair game to be run out unless they cleaned up their act.
“The guys know that now it’s not, frowned upon if I could say that,” Bavuma said.
“It’s within the rules, and batters know if you are stealing ground, or if you’re not in your crease, there’s a chance of you getting run out.
“The fault I would say is more on us as the batters, we need to be a lot more cleaner with that.”
Starc said he;d even spoken to de Bruyn the previous night, and that “if he wants to keep doing it I’ll take the stumps”.
Bavuma, who made a team-high 65 in Melbourne, was also the “common denominator” in two horrible second-innings run outs which fast-tracked the loss by an innings and 182 runs.
While not ready to call the two consecutive slashings, with the a South African total of just 204 in four innings in Australia so far, a “low point”, Bavuma said the batters in particular had to find better answers to the questions being posed by the ferocious home attack.
He said an extra batter in their line-up “would be nice” after going in with only five specialists and keeper Kyle Verreynne, but those picked still had to make a better fist of things.
“To be brutally honest, as a batting group we just haven’t been good enough. They’ve asked the questions and we haven’t had answers,” he said.
“Does it feel like a low point ? I wouldn’t go to that extreme, but it is disappointing the way we’ve played. We simply haven’t been good enough.
“They are probably going to ask those same questions again and as a group we are going to have to find solutions. International cricket is a brutal sport and a lot of us are realising that.
“It’s not a matter of shying away from what’s in front of us, we are going to have to face it head on and find a way not just for now, but for going forward.”