‘We’ve been outplayed and outclassed’: Dean Elgar
COLOMBO (92 News) – Dean Elgar isn’t offering any excuses for his team’s poor batting in Sri Lanka, but does feel having won the toss in one of the two Tests might have made a difference.
South Africa scored 126 and 73 to go down by 278 runs in the first Test, and are now chasing 351 more runs for victory with five second-innings wickets in hand in the second after having rolled over for 124 in the first innings.
Spin has been South Africa’s undoing. They have had their own star in Keshav Maharaj, who picked up 12 wickets in the ongoing Test, but have struggled to figure out Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath and Akila Dananjaya.
Speaking at the end of the third day’s play, Elgar argued that the pitch South Africa played on in their tour game against Sri Lanka Board XI was nothing like the ones used for the Tests, adding, “I think a lot of things boil down to the conditions we have been playing under. I do find that the wickets (in the Tests) have been a lot more challenging for the batters.
“We’ve obviously had the tougher of the two kinds of conditions. It’s not an excuse, by no means. We’ve been outplayed and outclassed throughout the series, and I’ll be man enough to say that Sri Lanka have been better than us in this particular series.”
Sri Lanka won the toss in both games and gave themselves the best use of the tricky conditions by batting first.
“I don’t want to say the toss determines the series or the game, but I think it would have played quite a big role. If we’d managed to bat first in one of the Tests it would have been a different encounter,” said Elgar. “I think we would have had the best of the batting conditions. But that doesn’t rub out the fact we’ve let ourselves down with the bat.
“Within our group, we need to be very honest with each other. We, as the batters, have let ourselves down, and we’ll be the first critics to smash ourselves over the knuckles and say we weren’t good enough.”
The fourth day will start with the Sri Lankan spinners looking for five more wickets and South Africa hoping that Theunis de Bruyn and Temba Bavuma, the overnight batsmen, last long enough to give them a sighter of the target.
“If we manage to draw the game, or even close to that score, it’s a victory for us, in its own respect,” said Elgar with a laugh. “Going forward, it’s just take one ball at a time; that’s how we have tried to approach this innings, especially in the beginning. And we’ve found that with a partnership and a little bit of panic, the Sri Lankan bowlers do go a little bit defensive and as batters you can bat out there.
“But there’s the one ball that’s got your name on it, and you’ve got to try your utmost to keep that ball out and hopefully you have a lot of luck on your side, which we haven’t really had throughout the series, and wish for the best, I guess.”