Low Total in their first innings rather than leaking runs in India’s first cost South Africa the opening Test against India, according to captain Dean Elgar. After conceding 272 for 3 on the first day, mostly due to a display of wide bowling on morning with the ball, South Africa went on to take 7 for 49 on the third to bowl India out for 327. They were then dismissed for under 200, where Elgar said the match was lost.
Just last year, South Africa accumulated 621 runs on this ground, against an under-strength Sri Lankan attack which might have helped the Proteas, and in four of their last five Tests here, they scored over 250 in the first innings. That they went on to win all those matches makes clear how important the first innings runs are, but for that you need a strong and somewhat reliable batting order, which can only be achieved with regular competitive game time against strong opposition.
Need to up our game with batting – Elgar
“You need runs to compete and it’s safe to say we didn’t get that in our first innings,” Elgar said. “They bowled well with the new ball and the nature of Test cricket is that you’ve got to compete against the new ball. The way they started was something we struggled against. We know what it’s like scoring 250-plus runs here.”
“Playing four or five-day cricket is something you can’t replace but the schedule doesn’t allow for our players to play a lot of first-class cricket,” Elgar said. “So there’s a little bit of (a lack of) match awareness and match fitness. It’s by no means an excuse. We knew that coming into the series. There’s a lot of learning for us that the basics of the game still applies. I don’t think we had that with regards to the batting.”
“KP has come in and played in three Tests matches and the three batting conditions that he has experienced have been relatively tough,” Elgar said. “He has had a bit of a rough start and it doesn’t reflect on him as a player. He is an extremely talented player – one of our better players in the first-class system. The stats don’t reflect his ability. I feel for him. I know he wants to make a play and is maybe a little bit anxious. We need to, as a leadership group, try and give him a better opportunity to try and contribute.”