England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow insists his side’s fielding will be back to its majestic best when they bid to seal a series victory against South Africa in the third Test in Johannesburg, which starts on Thursday.
The tourists were unusually poor in the field, dropping as many as 10 catches, as the second Test in Cape Town petered out into a draw, which left England with a 1-0 series advantage with two Tests to play.
Fielding drills featured heavily as England trained in the altitude of Johannesburg for the first time yesterday ahead of their latest tussle with the world’s No-1 ranked Test side.
“You can say we put an emphasis on catching today because we dropped a few last week but look at the emphasis we put on catching in the summer against Australia and some of the ridiculous ones we took there,” said the 26-year-old, who scored his maiden Test century during England’s mammoth first innings score in Cape Town.
“It’s just a slight blip. That’s all it was. Fielding has been a priority ever since Trev took over, to be honest.
“At no point was anyone taking anything lightly or anything like that. So going forward it is as per; we concentrate on our batting, bowling and our fielding. We take pride in what we do. We’re a young side and that’s what we’re about.”
A stomach illness forced Middlesex batsman Nick Compton to sit out training yesterday, although the 32-year-old is expected to have recovered in time to take his place at No3 in England’s batting line-up.
South Africa paceman Dale Steyn, meanwhile, has been ruled out of the third Test with the shoulder injury he incurred during the first Test in Durban and which kept him out of the second clash in Cape Town. “I don’t think it’s the end of Dale Steyn,” said South Africa coach Russell Domingo. “All players will experience some sort of niggles.”