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Ken Borland

‘Brilliant’ victory says Elgar after his stupendous decision to bat first

Posted on April 04, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Dean Elgar is not the type to get too carried away but South Africa’s remarkable victory over New Zealand in the second Test in Christchurch, following his stupendous decision to bat first, did draw a “brilliant” from the nuggety opening batsman.

Having been thrashed in humiliating fashion by an innings and 276 runs in the first Test, the Proteas bounced back in the second with an amazing all-round display that saw them win by 198 runs, keeping their unbeaten series record against New Zealand intact.

“To get a 1-1 result coming to New Zealand, at the start of the tour I would have taken it,” Elgar said. “We certainly didn’t start well, we didn’t really pitch up, but we took so many learnings from that.

“To see us really rock up in the second Test, to bounce back and show a lot of character and maturity was brilliant. Because of the first Test, it would have been easy to take the soft option and bowl first.

“But visually the pitch looked a little different, there was a lot less green grass and it looked a bit like a bat-first wicket. Taking the easy way out does not sit well with me, that’s not my character.

“Credit to the team for responding so well because the bowlers still posed quite a challenge on that pitch up front. It’s about playing a positive brand of cricket, playing from the front foot,” Elgar said.

Deprived of two key bowlers in Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi, it was pleasing to see two young bowlers from the Vaal, Wiaan Mulder and Lutho Sipamla, step up and admirably fill their places in the attack.

Other ‘foals’ to find their feet in the Test were Kyle Verreynne and Sarel Erwee, 32 years old but playing in just his second Test. Both of them scored superb centuries, Erwee on the first day and Verreynne under huge pressure in the second innings.

“It was good to see the young guys step up,” Elgar said. “Losing Lungi with a back issue was a big loss for the bowling unit, but it was a good squad effort with some older guys putting their hands up too.

“There were a lot of different influences on this game. Sarel really showed his character, his story goes a lot deeper than just playing cricket. He understands working hard for what you believe in.

“Kyle has not played a lot of Tests, he had to fill big shoes and he’s been under a lot of scrutiny, but the way he came out and played his natural style in the second innings was brilliant.

South Africa cricket tour of New Zealand“Keshav Maharaj is always a banker of mine and I know what I will get from him in terms of playing and competitiveness. And KG Rabada has been phenomenal,” Elgar said.

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