As England won a bowler-dominated three-match series 2-1 on Monday, it revealed South Africa’s sheer top six and lack of runs at the test level, giving touring skipper Dean Elgar a lot to think about before their upcoming five-day assignment in Australia.
In the first test, South Africa scored 326 runs in their lone innings at Lord’s, but they failed to surpass 179 runs in their subsequent four innings, as Elgar acknowledged that their frail middle order was failing the team. In the series, they used every batter from their lengthy tour party, but only Sarel Erwee was able to reach the half-century mark. Elgar told reporters, “I always rely on experience, and we don’t have that at test level.”
He added that they have a few months before the next series but only a handful of four-day games before then. It is a far cry from the days when South Africa climbed to the top of the test rankings thanks to bowling assaults that were dominated by Graeme Smith, Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla, and AB de Villiers.
He further said that the new players have had to learn in the most challenging format with not a lot of experience around them, which is something they were always aware of because of the number of guys who retired back-to-back.
Temba Bavuma and Rassie van der Dussen are on the injured list for South Africa, although they are expected to be back for the Australia series due to the team’s present situation, which might leave up to five spots in the top six open.
Elgar said that it’s tough when the guys are not getting numbers on the board for the team and sooner or later they have to look elsewhere.
He did not comment on England’s ‘Bazball’ attacking style of play, but he believed that the home team in the series displayed controlled aggression.
He clarified, “I’m not talking about that word. The only thing I noticed was a pretty excellent tempo, which is something you can regulate and control when you are winning the game. I didn’t believe they played particularly aggressive cricket. I just think they handled it well and didn’t see the ‘B-word’ at all.”