Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
31 Dec 2021
7:30 am

Elgar reflects on Proteas’ first Test loss to India: ‘We need big runs’

Ken Borland

"We will not lack confidence going into the Wanderers Test," said the skipper.

Ravichandran Ashwin of India celebrates with his teammates after they beat the Proteas in the first Test in Centurion on Thursday. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Having failed to withstand the heat of the Indian attack at SuperSport Park, the Proteas will now hop into the furnace of the Wanderers in the second Test starting on Monday, but captain Dean Elgar says their confidence has not been dented.

South Africa, bowled out for just 197 and 191, lost the first Test by 113 runs in Centurion on Thursday and a struggling batting line-up is going to have to come to terms quickly with the outstanding Indian pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj.

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“India have a really balanced attack. Shami posed issues for our right-handers and Bumrah always runs in with high energy, he’s always challenging you. You have to be very mindful of both of them,” Elgar said after his brave four-hour 77 was not enough to inspire the rest of the batting line-up, apart from Temba Bavuma, who remained unbeaten on 35.

“And when Mohammed Siraj has his tail up he’s also a bit of a handful.

“But we will not lack confidence going into the Wanderers Test. It’s never nice to lose but we know where we went wrong and we have time to reflect and learn from that.

“You need big runs to compete in Test cricket and we did not execute in the first innings when that was doable. We’ve got to compete against the new ball, but we were behind on the number of runs scored on all four days,” Elgar said.

South Africa’s bowlers also took a while to wake up to what was required, although India’s pacemen certainly enjoyed the benefit of a more lively pitch on the third day as the surface quickened up with the early moisture gone.

India reaching 272/3 at the end of the first day meant they could snooze easily for the rest of the Test match, knowing they were already ahead of the game.