The fast bowler hopes to get more chances with the stitch-friendly ball after the five-wicket distance
“I prefer the Dukes’ ball,” Njedi said after the first day’s match. “The Kookaburra ball tends to get a little soft and once it gets soft it doesn’t really swing and you try to find the reverse swing. SG gets cheated really fast and really hard to keep. But Dukes considers the ball a really test of skill. Once you can get Putting the wrist in the right shape and focusing on your area, you can be very successful with this ball. Having thrown it now, I hope to use it for many years.”
Ngidi has never used a Dukes ball in a Test match before, having not played any Tests in England or in the Caribbean prior to this round. He got to it while training in South Africa and said the coaching group was “trying everything to control that ball”, and he showed the results of their perseverance in two sessions on day one.
South Africa rejected the West Indies for 97, against the second total under 100 since 2004, through a combination of aggression and discipline that Njedi explained could be hard to get right in favorable conditions. “You can drift away, especially when you’re swinging and swinging like that,” he said.
His morning work was seven times for 10 runs, and he came back after lunch to take five wickets for nine runs, after changing his ends between periods. “I felt more comfortable than the other end and my rhythm clicked,” he said. “It was a work in progress. I had to work hard in the gym, on fitness and most importantly the skill side of things and being able to swing the ball away from the strikes.”
South Africa hopes it won’t be too exciting, yet. Their 31-point lead still lags somewhat behind what Njedi thinks could be a game win, especially on a surface that will continue to fit in for the race. And he said, “In that wicket, you’ll never be around. Maybe you advance 150-200, we’ll take that.” “But he’s still moving a bit, so any progress we can get, we’ll take it as players.
Firdous Munda is the ESPNcricinfo correspondent in South Africa