Dean Elgar expects West Indies to bounce back hard in the second Test
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JOHANNESBURG – The challenge for the Proteas in St. Lucia over the next few days is to try and replicate what they did against the West Indies last week.
The Proteas know what to do, they know how to do it and they saw last week what kind of an outcome they could produce. But, while the venue for the second Test is the same, and the team they will field is likely to be the same, the pitch is new and so is the day that will dawn over St. Lucia on Friday. In addtion the West Indies will definitely demand more of themselves.
Their batsmen were bullied into submission last week, and they will want to show they are capable of standing up to and even reverting pressure back onto the Proteas attack. “I definitely expect them to bounce back, they will come back with a plan,” said Proteas skipper Dean Elgar.
Part of that plan sees the inclusion of Darren Bravo in the 13 man squad for the second Test, which lends a great deal of experience. The other part of the home side’s plan sees a return for fast bowler Shannon Gabriel suggesting a ‘fight fire with fire’ approach.
“I’ve been around long enough to know how teams bounce back when you come to their home country and they get a beating. I know what they are going to respond with,” Elgar added.
How South Africa responds to how they played last week will also say a lot about the team under Elgar. They’re rarely tasted success in the last two years. When they beat England in the 2019 Boxing Day Test, they failed to create any momentum out of that performance and were by some distance second best in that series.
Elgar’s message to the team since being made captain has been, as he explained, “stern and straight forward.” One can’t imagine him succumbing to complacency. On a personal level, he has something to prove himself, after failing to score in the first Test, and from a team perspective he wants to see some form of consistency developing. “One Test win has gone such a long way for us already and we realise, another Test win will take us further as a unit.”
He said the pitch for the second Test had a similar grass covering to the first, although that didn’t mean he’d automatically give his bowlers first use of it. “I’m generally a bat first kind of guy, because you don’t win the game on the first day, you kind of win the game on day four or five.” he described the pitch as being a bit ‘softer’ than the one used for the first Test, the result of a few days of rain in St. Lucia. The forecast indicates more rain during the second Test.
Elgar’s concern is that the softness in the pitch initially, will lead to ‘indentations’ in the surface, which when they harden, creates uneven bounce, something that did play a part in the third day’s play last week.
Temba Bavuma remains a concern, with his hip still being monitored and a decision going to be made following South Africa’s optional training session on Thursday afternoon.
The selectors may choose to be careful with Bavuma given how much work awaits him as limited overs captain in the next few months.
The Proteas have a five match T20 series against the West Indies that starts on June 26, followed by a tour to Ireland for three ODIs and three T20s next month. Risking Bavuma, would prove detrimental to their plans for the T20 World Cup later this year, should he be injured again.
The first ball of the second Test will be bowled at 4pm SA time.
West Indies: Kraigg Brathwaite (capt), Jermaine Blackwood, Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar (capt), Keegan Petersen, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne, Quinton de Kock, Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada, Keshav Maharaj, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Temba Bavuma