ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar proud of ‘special bunch’ after hammering England

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ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar proud of 'special bunch' after hammering England
ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar proud of 'special bunch' after hammering England

ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar proud of ‘special bunch’ after hammering England

ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar praised his “special set” of players after they defeated England by an innings and 12 runs in the opening Test on Friday at Lord’s.

Under the new leadership of captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum, South Africa completely outclassed an England squad that had won all four of their previous Test matches. The victory took place in just three days.

After rain wiped out the majority of the opening day of play on Wednesday, the match was in fact virtually done in six sessions.

“As a playing group it’s a special bunch and we play bloody good cricket when we’re playing well,” said Elgar.

Since they were already in control at the outset of the World Test Championship, South Africa.

By dismissing England for 165, their potent pace attack supported Elgar’s choice to bat first in the cloudy weather. Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took 5-52 to earn a coveted spot on the Lord’s honours board.

In response, the Proteas made 326 runs for a first-innings lead of 161, with opener Sarel Erwee’s patient 73 building a strong platform. This helped them tighten their hold on the match.

ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar proud of 'special bunch' after hammering England
ENG vs SA 1st Test: South Africa captain Dean Elgar proud of ‘special bunch’ after hammering England

South Africa’s one and only innings of the game came to a close during Friday’s morning session, but spinner Keshav Maharaj, who didn’t bowl in the first innings, still had time to score twice as England fell to 38-2 by lunch.

Anrich Nortje, a fast bowler, made sure the collapse persisted by taking three wickets for no runs in a stunning 10-ball stretch before England dismissed just before tea for 149 after just three hours of play.

This was South Africa’s eighth win in 10 Tests since Elgar appointed as their red-ball skipper last year, with the opener telling reporters;  “I would like to think that what we’ve laid down as a foundation has been pretty true and pretty solid… It hasn’t been fake, it’s been real.”

Even Elgar was surprised by how quickly South Africa won. And giving them a 1-0 series lead heading into Thursday’s second Test at Old Trafford in Manchester.

“I didn’t wake up this morning thinking I’d be doing a press conference before five o’clock,” the 35-year-old said.

And while alert to the dangers of “complacency”, Elgar added: “We need to enjoy these moments.

“We did it at a unique place – a sold-out Lord’s on a Friday,” he explained after what just South Africa’s sixth win in 17 Tests at the London ground.

Elgar hailed player-of-the-match Rabada, who claimed seven wickets in total, by saying; “He’s an absolute machine when it comes to rising to the occasion for big matches. He put his hand up, he took the bull by the horns and he ran with it.”

Elgar frequently questioned prior to this game about England’s new “Bazball” style. That is a play on McCullum’s given name.

Elgar, a 77-test veteran, made it clear that there were still several red-ball game non-negotiables. A point he reaffirmed to the BBC in a separate interview on Friday.

“I’m still a purist when to comes to Test cricket,” he insisted. “I don’t stuff around with too many styles of play. I think the game demands and kind of deserves it.”

However, South Africa’s only 28 Test matches in the following four years scheduled as part of the ICC’s future tours plan.

“I guess we could be playing more,” said Elgar. “It’s a sad thing but so be it. I can’t say too much about that because I might get into trouble.”