South Africa skipper Dean Elgar has lauded praise on his inexperienced teammates after they overcame a painful defeat in Centurion and won the series 2-1 against favourites India on January 14.
The moment India won comprehensively in the first Test, they were expected to steamroll what many felt is South Africa’s weakest side they have had to encounter on tour. But in a remarkable turnaround, Proteas found heroes with the bat and the ball and clinched memorable wins in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Speaking of how they managed to bridge the gap in experience so quickly and beat a more fancied Indian side, Elgar felt it is the coming together of an inexperienced but talented group of players and their ability to fight odds when nobody expected them to.
“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,”the 34-year-old was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“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.
While the batting department came to the fore from time to time, what really led South Africa’s comeback was their firing set of pacers. Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen and Lungi Ngidi used their height brilliantly and extracted more consistent seam movement out of the three surfaces than their Indian counterparts outside a poor performance on Day 1 in Centurion.
Elgar said he laid out a challenge for his bowlers to come to the party after Centurion and is mighty pleased that they responded brilliantly to it. While Rabada and Ngidi bowled like senior men, it was the emergence of Jansen that would have pleased the South Africans a lot. The 21-year-old took 19 wickets at just 16.47 in his debut Test series.