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Ken Borland

Memorable triumph happening at Kingsmead will add to Proteas’ elation

Posted on May 03, 2022 by Ken

Routing the opposition for just 53 in 55 minutes on the final day made for a memorable triumph for the Proteas over Bangladesh on Monday, but the fact the remarkable victory in the first Test happened at Kingsmead will add to the elation for Dean Elgar and his team.

Keshav Maharaj destroyed the Bangladesh batting with 7/32 in 10 overs, the best ever figures for a South African bowler against them, and was ably supported by Simon Harmer (9-3-21-3) as the Proteas surged to victory by 220 runs.

It is only the Proteas’ second win at Kingsmead in their last 10 Tests there dating back to 2009; as a venue it had become a nemesis for them and finally enjoying a tremendous win at their hoodoo ground no doubt contributed to the emotion the players displayed.

“I’ve caught quite a few hidings here,” Elgar, who seemed to be choking back tears during the post-match presentation, said later. “This is the first Test I’ve been part of a winning side here.

“So it’s nice to have victory on our side for a change. The way we played is not the style we are generally used to or the way we want to play, but we showed a lot of character and the resources to adapt.

“Fast bowling is still our prime source of attack, but we play quite a lot in the subcontinent so it’s great to have two spinners bowling in tandem like Keshav and Simon did.

“How awesome was it to see them have the ball on a string and absolutely dominating. It was great to see them competing at such high levels and I think most batting line-ups would have had a tough task against them,” Elgar said.

South African cricket has certainly undergone a sea change in terms of mindset towards using spinners. Given the assistance that an excellent Kingsmead pitch also provided the seam bowlers, Elgar could have resorted to type and backed his pacemen more, especially with the new ball.

“Even if the IPL guys were here, Keshav and Simon would still have bowled most of the overs,” Elgar stated. “My style of captaincy is to play positive cricket and to be ruthless.

“It’s about making bold, brash decisions to take the players out of their comfort zone. It was purely my gut feel to give the spinners the new ball, and the coaches allow me to do me during the game.

“I want to see players put their hands up and make big contributions for the team. I could have bowled the seamers, but I wanted to be ruthless.

“It’s about exposing the players to the level I expect them to play at, and the only way guys coming in are going to know what is needed at this level is through exposure,” Elgar said.

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