Boucher confident in Proteas bowlers, with Rabada likely to lead attack

Proteas fast bowler Kagiso Rabada will likely be fit for the first Test against England starting at Lord’s on Wednesday and coach Mark Boucher is confident his attack will be able to take 20 wickets no matter how aggressively the hosts bat.

Rabada is recovering from an ankle injury that kept him out of South Africa’s last three T20 matches, but Boucher struck a positive note about his availability on Monday.

“KG is coming on well, he’s a great athlete, he’s recovered nicely and there’s not too much pain,” Boucher said.

“He’s having a fitness test later this afternoon and he’s a massive player for us, so hopefully he pulls through.

Also read: Elgar focused on getting pace spearhead Rabada fit for opening Test

“It was sad to see Duanne Olivier leave the tour with a hip injury, he was very unlucky. But the guys are pretty much in position in terms of our attack and I don’t think we’ll change too much from that.

“We’re in a good space in terms of our bowling and I believe they can take 20 wickets, like we have done it recently against other teams. We’ve got to be adaptable because we don’t know what conditions will be like.

“There’s been a lot of media hype about how aggressively England will bat, and we will try and negate that on the day. You need certain conditions to be able to play that way,” Boucher said.

Sadly ill-equipped

The Proteas looked sadly ill-equipped in their warm-up match against the England Lions as they were walloped by an innings and 56 runs in Canterbury. The home side belted 672 runs in just 117 overs, but it was very much a second-string South African attack, with only Keshav Maharaj sure to play in the first Test.

More concerning was perhaps the batting, with the Proteas slipping to 129/5 in the first innings and then being bowled out for just 183 in the second.

“We learned how to fetch the ball!,” Boucher wise-cracked. “But it was exactly that – a warm-up. We got certain things out of it, although it’s never great to lose. But our focus was on what we needed to do to be ready for the Test.

“We lost to the England Lions in a white-ball match at the start of the tour as well, and those series came out okay. The pitch was pretty flat in Canterbury and it was tough for the bowlers.

“But we were able to spend some time on our feet, so we did achieve something. We had guys coming out of an off-season and they were all a bit rusty, so we’re not too fazed by the result.

“There’s no panic. It’s going to be about handling the situation given to you, having the smarts to do that. Hopefully if we get on top then we can drive that home, or find a way to switch the momentum if they get on top,” Boucher said.

Also read: England pick five fast bowlers in squad for Test series against Proteas

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