Impressive Lizaad Williams didn’t bank on making Proteas Test debut on a ‘weird’ Durban pitch

Lizaad Williams. (Photo by Marco Longari / AFP)

Lizaad Williams. (Photo by Marco Longari / AFP)

  • Rookie Proteas seamer Lizaad Williams wasn’t quite expecting to have to bowl on a “weird” Kingsmead surface on his Test debut.
  • Despite finishing with fine figures of 3/54, he noted that bowlers basically had to do all their magic with an older ball as a new one gave little assistance.
  • He believes that also explains why the third day of the first Test against Bangladesh drifted off a bit at times.

Lizaad Williams is delighted he could deliver a sizeable contribution to the Proteas’ bowling cause on his debut in the first Test against Bangladesh, but didn’t quite bank on being confronted with a “weird” Kingsmead pitch.

The wholehearted Titans seamer was undoubtedly South Africa’s best performer on a rather attritional and slow third day on Saturday, finishing with eminently useful figures of 3/54 from his 18.5 overs.

A highlight was an absolute corker of delivery on a good length to a well-set Litton Das, one that moved late and made a mess of the stumps.

READ | Mahmudul Joy(ously) makes history for Bangladesh but Proteas take useful lead at Kingsmead

“I’m delighted. Playing Test cricket has always been my dream and it’s been something I’ve been working towards,” said Williams.

“It’s the most difficult form of the game and you want to test yourself in those situations. It was great to have contributed.

“[It was a challenging day] because between Duanne [Olivier] and I we’re two different kinds of seamers.

“He naturally gets a bit more bounce, so he can probably be a bit fuller. I was trying to hit between 6m and 7m to get the ball to squat a bit.

“We bowled well as a unit, but we could’ve done better. There’s always an opportunity to improve, hopefully in the second innings.”

Ironically, the 28-year-old from Vredenburg’s best moment illustrated the peculiarity of the surface.

Williams got the old ball to proverbially talk in castling Litton, raising hopes that he would be even more lethal with the second new ball.

Instead, the attack struggled to make an impression.

“It’s a weird wicket, the new ball does a lot less than what the older ball does, which is not normal,” said Williams.

“It’s easier with older ball for some reason. I don’t know why, but it’s still a good thing because you bowl a lot more with an older ball than a new one.”

A consequence of the Proteas’ lack of consistent firepower was that it created the impression of a solid, traditional contest between bat and ball.

Yet Williams didn’t sound quite as convinced.

“I do feel once the ball gets older it’s difficult for both batters and bowlers to get going because it becomes soft. Then again, that’s why they call it Test cricket,” he said.

“It’s up to you to make it count. I haven’t played a lot of international cricket yet, but I do believe there’s a result possible on this wicket. It’s going to require hard work.”