Fast bowler hopes for more opportunities with seamer-friendly ball after five-wicket haul
“I prefer the Dukes ball. It stays harder and moves around a lot more,” Ngidi said after the first day’s play. “The Kookaburra ball tends to get a bit soft and once it gets soft, it doesn’t really swing and you try to look for reverse swing. The SG gets scuffed up really quick and it’s a really hard ball to maintain. But the Dukes The ball is really a test of skill. Once you can get the wrist position right and hone in on your area, you can be very successful with this ball. Having bowled with it now, I hope I bowl with it for many, many years. “
Ngidi had never used the Dukes ball in a Test match before, having not played any Tests in England or in the Caribbean before this tour. He did have access to it when practicing in South Africa and said the training group was “trying everything to control that ball,” and showed off the results of their persistence inside two sessions on the first day.
South Africa dismissed West Indies for 97, for their second sub-100 total since 2004, through a combination of aggression and discipline that Ngidi explained could be difficult to get right in favorable conditions. “You can get carried away, especially when it’s nipping around and swinging like that,” he said.
His morning’s work was seven overs for 10 runs and he returned after lunch to take five wickets for nine runs, having changed ends in between whiles. “I felt more comfortable from the other end and my rhythm clicked,” he said. “It’s been a work in progress. I had to work very hard in the gym, on fitness, and the most important thing was the skill side of things and being able to swing the ball away from batters.”
South Africa will hope it’s not too exciting, just yet. Their lead of 31 is still some way behind what Ngidi thinks could be match-winning, especially on a surface that will continue to suit the quicks. “On this wicket you are never really in. Maybe a lead of 150-200, we’ll take that,” he said. “But it’s still moving around a bit so any lead we can get, we will take as bowlers.”
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent