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Pink ball not to blame for red faces: Short

CA XI captain says his side was simply blown away by the Proteas' marauding mob of quicks

Adelaide Oval has not seen the likes of it in traditional forms of cricket since the immediate aftermath of World War Two.

And even then, while future 'Invincibles' tourist Ron Hamence stood alone in scoring 74 of South Australia's 107 against the seam and spin menace of New South Wales' Ernie Toshack and 'Tiger' Bill O'Reilly, he was able to find one other willing teammate capable of reaching double figures.

Quick Single: Proteas dominate CA XI in D/N clash

Tom Klose, who managed 10 before falling to O'Reilly's wrist spin.

But in last weekend's two-day practice match against a rampant South Africa, 20-year-old Victoria batsman Matthew Short played the definitive skipper's innings for his equally inexperienced Cricket Australia XI outfit.

Posting a lone hand 57 against one of the most potent pace-bowling attacks assembled in a single game since the great West Indies teams of the 1980s, while the next-highest score in the CA XI total of 103 was the extras tally of eight.

Captain Short plays a lone hand


With the second-best effort off the bat being Ben McDermott's six.

It would have been easy for Short, who was also part of the CA XI's winless Matador BBQs One-Day Cup campaign earlier this month, to point to the fact that (like the highly-credentialled Proteas) his players had no previous experience batting against a pink ball under floodlights.

But instead the powerful right-hander acknowledged that the talented but inexperienced young line-up had simply been blown away by a phalanx of fast bowlers the likes of which they had never before encountered.

Or are likely to run into again, any time soon.

An attack featuring five genuine international strike bowlers led by Dale Steyn who was followed (in turn) to the crease by Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada, Kyle Abbott and Morne Morkel.

And who between them accounted for the shell-shocked youngsters in less than a full session, in a tick past 30 overs.

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"As a group, we always knew what we were coming up against," Short said in the wake of the two-day match in which the CA XI bowlers acquitted themselves well but their batters became fodder.

"Some of the best bowlers in the world, and the challenge for us was the pink ball because none of us have faced that.

"Especially with these kind of bowlers.

"As the sun went down it was definitely harder to bat.

Proteas steamroll CA XI for 103


"But I think just the quality of their bowlers made it difficult for us, I don't think the ball or the conditions or the light affected us.

"It was just the skills set of their bowlers."

Short, who took the long handle to Morkel in the final overs of his team's innings in a defiant last-wicket stand with leg spinner Kyle Gardiner (4no), conceded the South Africa game represented a "huge" step up from the six Matador Cup matches in recent weeks.

And that he found it especially challenging facing Rabada, who he claimed was disconcerting due to his "loping" approach to the crease which then generates extreme pace due to his "whipping" arm action.

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Proteas quick Abbott, who finds himself in a battle with Morkel for a berth in the first Test that starts in Perth on November 3, claimed after the game it was the seam movement from the well-grassed Adelaide pitch rather than the pink ball's movement through the air that had proved toughest to counter.

Short, who saw his seamers led by left-armer Tom O'Donnell make early inroads into the South Africa batting in both of their innings, claimed the difference between the teams was the tourists capacity to repeatedly land the ball seam-up in the right place more often than not.

Something that will ensure Australia's Test top-order has their work cut out come the opening Test next week.

"We definitely started well with the ball both innings, got it swinging and nipping a bit both innings but I think we fell off a bit after about 20 overs," Short said.

"We didn't quite have the skills set to keep the ball up and the seam up, and try and nip it around to nick them off.

"So that just shows the quality of their bowlers.

"They were able to keep the seam up and swing it for a bit longer than us."

Meg Lanning Steve Smith