South Africa Test captain Dean Elgar is “extremely proud” of his team for “responding brilliantly” after being behind 1-0 in the series to come fighting back and claim the trophy against the No. 1 Test side in the world. After winning the series 2-1 with a seven-wicket win in Cape Town, Elgar believed his team was “thrown under the sword” a few times in the series, and he had a few “tough chats” with his squad, which they responded to “and grew massively in the last two Tests.”
Like Elgar stated, South Africa’s bowling was way better than their Indian counterparts throughout the series. Three of South Africa’s four fast bowlers – Kagiso Rabada (20), Marco Jansen (19) and Lungi Ngidi (15) – topped the wicket charts while no India bowler could get to the 15 wickets mark in the series.
Elgar also praised the determination Keegan Petersen showed throughout the series, to emerge as their biggest player and a crucial candidate for the future. Petersen, 28, scored three half-centuries in the last two Tests, including 72 and 82 in the third game, to lead the scoring charts with a tally of 276, which earned him the Player-of-the-Match and Series awards in only his fifth Test.
Everyone played a vital part in the series win – Elgar
“Pretty elated, I think it will obviously sink in in a day or two, maybe this evening,” Elgar told the host broadcaster at the presentation. “Couldn’t be prouder of the group, of players I have underneath me. We were thrown under the sword quite a few times in the series and the guys responded brilliantly. After the first loss, the boys had a lot of hope going into the second and third [Tests] knowing we can still win this. We obviously had to follow our ways and processes going into those games. [I] asked the players to respond in a better nature, better way and they responded brilliantly. Extremely happy.
When asked how the hosts turned things around despite not being as experienced as India, Elgar said: “Challenging your players within the group, characters as well. You need immense characters to stand up in these kinds of tough situations. The way our bowling unit came in and operated throughout the last two Tests has been brilliant; throughout the series they’ve been brilliant. Sixty wickets in a Test series is quite a tough challenge for them but I threw down the challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly.
We’ve got a young, talented group but the experience they’ve been gaining…in this environment every day we’re gaining this experience, which is brilliant for us. It was unreal to see how a group that doesn’t have the repertoire or names, how they could gel together and play as one. This is a proper unit that we’ve operated in and it’s a proper team, by no means I can single-handedly pick out players because everyone has played a big part in vital situations throughout the series. Extremely, extremely proud of this group.”