Proteas captain Dean Elgar acknowledges that England are currently playing “brave and bold” Test cricket, but he is eager to see whether they can maintain that against the pace and bounce, and two quality spinners, of the South African attack when their Test series gets underway next month.
In a delirious month of four Test matches against New Zealand (three) and India (one), England’s powerful batting line-up has chased down four successive targets of more than 250 in the fourth innings with tremendous gung-ho and aggression, scoring at run-rates of 4.93 chasing 378 against the powerful India attack, and 3.53, 5.98 and 5.44 against the Black Caps.
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“England have certainly been quite brave and bold. It’s been exciting and brought extra energy to Test cricket,” Elgar said.
“I’m sure world cricket has been hit by surprise, especially in the way they chase, but it’s been on relatively batting-friendly pitches and conditions have been in their favour. There hasn’t been too much sideways movement and they’ve been allowed to play that game.
“Our seamers will also bring a lot more pace and bounce against them and we have quite a few options to exploit any pitches that do go up-and-down.
“It will be interesting to see the pitches they prepare, knowing the fast bowling arsenal we have, backed up by two quality spinners if need be. I know I would not like to face our attack.”
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The left-handed opening batsman has brought a hard edge to the Proteas during his captaincy tenure; the more pressure Elgar is under, the more dogged he becomes.
That character is reflected in his team: The current Proteas are hard-working, stubborn and they refuse to let anyone dominate them.
It is typical of Elgar’s personality that he is loving the prospect of England going all-out-attack on them and he is backing the Proteas to be able to handle the onslaught.
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“It’s going to be exciting and luckily we have quite a few pace bowlers,” he said.
“The basics are still fundamental to Test cricket and patience is one of our strengths. We really enjoy taking it to the last day and strangling teams.
“We have done a lot of graft on our game plan because there could be a false sense of needing to be drawn into the way England want to play. That would be a massive error and would take our strengths out of the equation.
“We’ve had a lot of brilliant fast bowlers going to the UK and dominating, so I’m excited about that.”