The South African took the best first class figures since 1956.
It may not be the traditional Adelaide Oval, but a typical pitch has been promised in the South Australian capital for the second Ashes Test.
The historic oval is undergoing a $535 million redevelopment, due for completion next March.
For the first time in the oval’s 128-year Test history, drop-in pitches are used.
But South Australian Cricket Association chief executive Keith Bradshaw allayed fears the drop-in pitches will change the character of the track for the Test starting next Thursday.
Just two Sheffield Shield games, both batsmen-dominated draws, have been played since the oval re-opened earlier this month, but Bradshaw is heartened by the pitches.
“We will see a pitch that very closely resembles what we have come to expect of an Adelaide Test match over previous years,” Bradshaw told AAP.
Adelaide’s pitch has a reputation as a true batting deck for the initial three days before taking increasing spin and variable bounce. And 12 of the past 15 Tests at the oval have produced results.
“It is something we have been mindful of all the way through the redevelopment, not trying to change the character and the nature of the game that is played at Adelaide Oval,” Bradshaw said.
“We were keen to preserve the ingredients that go into an Adelaide Test match in terms of its tradition and what people have come to expect.”
Early concerns have eased about a bumpy outfield – the grass was only laid six weeks ago.
“The outfield has come up really well, we had some concerns initially with some undulations that appeared once the turf had been laid, but they have pretty much been ironed out now,” Bradshaw said.
The initial four days of the Test have been sold out, with a capacity of 32,500 spectators. When completed, the oval will seat 50,000 people.
While new grandstands have been built, Bradshaw said an imperative of the new design was retaining the oval’s aura – the 102-year-old scoreboard, 120-year-old Moreton Bay fig trees, and views of the landmark St Peter’s Cathedral remain.
And Bradshaw, a Tasmanian who joined the SACA after spending six years as chief of the MCC based at Lord’s in London, was certain the English would marvel at the oval.
“They will be in awe when they first arrive, in terms of the sheer structures that we have in place,” he said.
“As an event and as an experience, it’s nothing short of world class in every aspect.
“The ambience of the whole place … it’s just a brilliant experience.”