Proteas captain Dean Elgar admits that he is expecting England to come back with the vengeance in the second Test starting at Old Trafford in Manchester on Thursday, but has warned that South Africa’s hunger for success continues to grow.
The tourists claimed a stunning victory over their hosts in the first Test in London where they won by an innings and 12 runs well inside three days. It was a result that put them 1-0 ahead in the three-match series.
But despite the manner of victory at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the Proteas know that their opposition are hurting – and desperate to try and make amends for that defeat.
“I know it won’t (go the same way),” Elgar told the media at the pre-match press conference.
“It’s going to be a lot tougher knowing that England were hurt and I know they’re coming back with a vengeance I guess against us. I really just hope we can play another solid game of cricket. I think that will give us the best chance to try and get into a position of victory. But we know we have to start again where the scoreboard is on nought for nought and we’ll have to start off pretty well against them,” he said.
Elgar also highlighted the ‘will to win’ feeling within his team, saying they were no less determined to to come out on top in this Test compared to the first.
“What happened in the first Test was something amazing for us,” he explained.
“We played really solid, sound cricket as we’ve been doing the last year. I think our hunger was up there and I think our hunger’s still here. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. We drive a hard message with regards to that. We really want to play a brand of cricket that everyone loves back home, and hopefully the rest of the world enjoys. It’s difficult to read the future, I wish I could, and I really hope the second Test goes the same way.”
The Proteas bowlers completely blew away England in the first game everyone played their part to claim 20 opposing wickets in just 82.4 overs. Elgar warned that these bowlers – amongst them being Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marco Jansen, Lungi Ngidi – can get even better in Manchester.
“I reckon they can get much better. They’re still pretty fresh, which is a nice thing to have from my part. They had a brilliant game, the wicket obviously assisted them as well at Lord’s and you’ve got to take that into account as well,” he said.
“But again you’ve got to put the ball in the right areas and they did that. And again it brings us back to the first question about hunger and I think our bowlers are leading our pack at the moment, they’re extremely hungry for success.
“The competition amongst them is brilliant and the way they go about things is some of the most professional behaviour I’ve seen from fast bowlers. It’s a great asset to have them leading the pack like that. You don’t have to speak to them too much. They just know what to do.
“They’ve been around the international scene now for quite some time. This may be a different wicket, so they’ll have to adapt, but this is a massive strength of ours.”
Elgar was asked about the starting XI for the match, but stopped short of giving any names, stating only that “consistency is key to Test cricket and even consistency when it comes to selection”.
“It’s a tough series playing away from home against England and you need to back your horses that you’ve been backing for some time now. All you can do is give them the best resources to try and do well. Hopefully it comes off,” he added.
The Proteas have already won series against England and Ireland during their tour to the United Kingdom, both in the T20 International format. They also drew their One-Day International series 1-1 against world champions England at the start of the trip.