Melbourne, Australia: Learning on the job as a test cricketer can be “brutal,” according to South Africa captain Dean Elgar. But he wants his side to experience more of it.
Struggling to digest his side’s record loss by an innings and 182 runs in the second test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday, Elgar lamented South Africa’s lack of exposure to test matches in a landscape where Twenty20 looms large for cricket’s administrators.
Set a target of 386 just to make Australia bat again, South Africa was bowled out for 204 at tea on day four. While this represented a huge innings loss, it was at least the first time in eight test innings that the Proteas had reached 200.
Elgar, with 13 centuries, is the only player in the side with more than one test hundred.
“It’s a tough one. I have to bite my tongue a little bit,” Elgar said. “Scheduling, going forward for the next five years, I’ve been going on about it that we need to be playing more test cricket.
“Our players need to be exposed to this level, even though you’re taking the hidings that we have had in the first two tests … our players need to be exposed to that. Unfortunately, we are learning most probably in the most ruthless and brutal way.“
Elgar said his side’s battling collapse Thursday was “a tough one to digest.”
“It was a pretty weak performance I’d say, in conditions which I really felt were in favor of really good test cricket,” he said.
Elgar is calling on his side to show some character in the third and final test in Sydney starting on Jan. 4.
“We are playing for the pride of our team,” Elgar said. “We’re playing for this badge. We need to try to restore a little bit of pride that maybe has been hurt over the last two weeks.”