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De Kock demands more steel from Proteas

South Africa captain Quinton de Kock says his side’s batsmen will have to be mentally stronger if they are to compete with Pakistan.

The tourists were well beaten in the first Test, losing by seven wickets in Karachi on Friday after coming unstuck against the Pakistan spin duo of Yasir Shah and debutant Nauman Ali, who took 14-206 between them.

With the second and final Test starting in Rawalpindi on Thursday, de Kock has called for a strong response from the Proteas.

He blamed poor shot selection and some anxious cricket in their first innings in particular, where South Africa also had two run-outs in their top six as they were bowled out for 220 after winning the toss and electing to bat.

“We were never really ahead in the game. 220 in the first innings on that wicket is not good enough, especially when you opt to bat first. We let ourselves down,” De Kock told reporters.

“The first innings we gave them our wickets, second innings there were one or two good nuts. We have to go back (to training), prepare and come back mentally stronger.”

South Africa have passed 300 just three times in their last 25 innings on the sub-continent, and more recently have been prone to spectacular collapses.

They crumbled from 1-175 to 245 all out in the second innings in Karachi.

“If we knew how to fix them (the collapses) we wouldn’t be doing them in the first place, but we have spoken about it and are trying to find a way to stop it,” De Kock added.

“In our second innings, we saw the way Aiden (Markram) and Rassie (Van der Dussen) went about it, they took their time and kept the ball on the ground, soaked up the pressure and scored where they could.

“Our record in the sub-continent is not the greatest, but we have won a couple of series. It is just a matter of finding a way to win.”

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