ENG vs SA: Lack of exposure to UK conditions behind series loss, says Proteas captain Dean Elgar
ENG vs SA: Both Proteas captain Dean Elgar and outgoing head coach Mark Boucher acknowledged that South Africa’s 1-2 Test series loss to England was significantly impacted by the lack of experience.
On Monday at the Kia Oval, the home team completed a fantastic come-from-behind victory with a decisive nine-wicket victory in the third Test.
Last month, after South Africa easily won the first Test by an innings and 12 runs, the host team responded with a respectable victory in the second Test, which they won by an innings and 85 runs in Manchester.
The Proteas were dismissed for pitiful scores of 118 and 169 in the deciding Test, which was effectively a three-day encounter due to day one’s inclement weather and day two’s suspension following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
“I think lack of experience and lack of exposure to Test cricket (played a part),” Elgar said afterwards.
“The lack of exposure to UK conditions with the ball swinging and nipping. We were also exposed to the type of batting conditions in this Test especially where the ball was nipping quite a lot.
“It was up there with some of the toughest conditions I’ve faced and I have a relatively decent amount of experience. So I can only imagine how a guy who only has one or two Test under his belt must feel. It was tough all around.”
In the third Test that followed, the South Africans only had to bowl 92.4 overs. And skipper Elgar’s 36 was their highest total of the game. In the whole series. Marco Jansen, one of the few bright spots for the visitors, outperformed all the team’s specialists with a bat average of 27.33.
Coach Boucher acknowledged that the batters had a difficult series.
“We always knew we would be under pressure if the conditions went around a bit,” he explained.
“I think in South Africa the conditions are not the same. The ball doesn’t swing, the contact points are a little bit different. I know there’s talk of experience and that. But these batters that are here have consistently been the best batters in our country.
“If you have a look at the last top seven batters that came to England and won the last series. I think between them there were 470 odd Test matches, that’s between the top seven. In this series, 10 of the batters used to bat in the top seven, they’re on 170.
“So there is a big difference and the only way you get experience is by going out there and playing. We’ve got guys to play in quite a few Test matches, in conditions where the ball went around a bit. But they haven’t come off and that’s unfortunate.”
The Proteas are now in second place in the ICC World Test Championship following the conclusion of the England series. After this break, the team will reconvene later in the year in preparation for their three-test tour of Australia.