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South Africa's Dean Elgar (left) and teammates celebrate after England's James Anderson is bowled by Marco Jansen to wrap up the first Test. Image Credit: AFP

London: South Africa skipper Dean Elgar expressed surprise at the Test against England at Lord’s ending before tea on Day Three, saying it hardly crossed his mind when he woke up in the morning on Friday.

South Africa thrashed the hosts by an innings and 12 runs on Day 3 of the first Test to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and consolidate their position at the top of the ICC World Test Championship Standings.

The thumping win at Lord’s put South Africa one step closer to the ICC World Test Championship final next year. They are on top of the standings with six wins and two losses this cycle, a win percentage of 75. Australia and Sri Lanka follow them in the table, with England languishing at the seventh spot with eight losses this cycle.

“The last thing that crossed my mind when I woke up this morning was that I would be doing a post-match press conference before 5pm today,” said the captain, who credited his bowling attack for the huge victory.

“Having four fast bowlers with the third and fourth of them the fastest of the four, that’s pretty nice to have,” he was quoted as saying by supersport.com.

South Africa’s pace spearhead and ‘man-of-the-match’ Kagiso Rabada, was singled out for special praise by the skipper. “He (Rabada) operates in his own zone and is an absolute gun, he’s brilliant to have in the in the team but it’s pretty special bowling attack all round,” Elgar said.

WTC charts

When the 35-year-old Elgar took over the Test captaincy a year-and-a-half back, the Proteas were struggling and it seemed next to impossible for them to achieve their goal of qualifying for the World Test Championship final, but now the side is leading the WTC charts and tantalisingly close to securing a place in next year’s final.

“I hope they (team) don’t become complacent, I certainly won’t be letting them because I’ve seen what complacency can do in professional sport. But it’s a good reflection of what we’ve done and achieved in the last year and that’s why we have that ranking,” Elgar said.

“But you need to play every game like it’s your last game, that’s my mantra. It will be hard to stay there but if we keep playing the way we’ve been playing and conducting ourselves on and off the field, worrying about the small things and caring for each other like we do, more often than not the results will look after themselves.”

It was South Africa’s fifth win in seven post-Covid Tests at Lord’s with a draw in 2008 and a solitary loss five years ago confirming that they rise to the big occasion far more often than not.