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Boucher accepts blame for South Africa slump

Hosts are on the brink of defeat in the third Test against England

PHOTO COURTESY: Cricket South Africa

South Africa coach Mark Boucher accepted responsibility for the slump that has left the hosts on the brink of defeat in the third Test against England.

"It was a very disappointing batting performance," Boucher said after South Africa lost 10 wickets on the fourth day at St George's Park and were teetering at 102-6 in their follow-on. They trail England by 188 runs. "Ultimately I have to take responsibility for the performance and I now have to mentally and physically upskill these guys in a short space of time to make them better players.

“I've been in teams where we've been pretty low as well and we are still in the series," said the former record-breaking wicketkeeper, who only took over as coach last month. "We are in a very bad situation in this game but not out of the series yet."

England need four wickets on Monday to take a 2-1 lead with the last Test in Johannesburg starting on Friday.

"As you'll probably realise, the guys are pretty disappointed at the moment but going forward I need to find a way to get them ready for tomorrow and the last test match to come," Boucher added. "It's easy to point fingers but for me there are no excuses. I need to find a way to get it right."

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Boucher said his batsmen were left floundering on Sunday, when South Africa were dismissed for 209 in the first innings after losing their last four wickets for one run. They then struggled in the follow-on. He blamed South Africa's predicament on the television commentators, who repeatedly advised them to take on the English spinners despite being tied down.

"The guys wanted to dominate but the conditions have been tough, the ball's turning a lot more. The risk is quite big to use your feet and go over the top and dominate," said the coach. "This is what I'm saying: we need to have a couple of options with regards to our batting in difficult circumstances and conditions and I've got to look at that and give them different options."