Proteas captain Dean Elgar and outgoing head coach Mark Boucher both admitted lack of experience played a big part in South Africa’s defeat in the 1-2 Test series against England. The hosts sealed an emphatic nine-wicket victory in the third Test to complete an outstanding come-from-behind triumph at the Kia Oval on Monday. South Africa had comfortably won the first Test by an innings and 12 runs last month, with the home side coming back with a handsome win in the second Test which they claimed by an innings and 85 runs in Manchester.
They also topped most of the deciding test – the clash that was basically a three-day game after the first day was washed out and the second day suspended after Queen Elizabeth II’s death – in which the Proteas were fired for poor scores. from 118 and 169.
“I think lack of experience and lack of exposure to Test cricket played a role,” Elgar said afterwards.
“The lack of exposure to British conditions where the ball swings and squeezes. We were also exposed to the kind of hitting conditions in this test, especially where the ball was squeezing quite a lot.
“It was up there with some of the toughest conditions I’ve been through and I have a relatively decent amount of experience. So I can only imagine how a guy who only has one or two tests under his belt must feel. It was heavy all around.” The South Africans faced just 92.4 overs in the third Test after, with skipper Elgar’s 36 their highest score of the match. In the general classification, Marco Jansen, one of the few lights for the tourists, achieved the highest average with the bat – 27.33 – surpassing all specialists in the team.
Coach Boucher admitted it wasn’t a good run for the batters.
“We always knew we would be under pressure if the conditions changed a bit,” he explained.
“I think the conditions in South Africa are not the same. The ball doesn’t swing, the contact points are a little different. I know there’s experience and that, but these batters who are here have always been the best hitters .” in our country.
“If you look at the last top seven batters that came to England and won the last series, I think there were 470 exhibition games between them, that’s between the top seven. In this series, 10 of the batters in the top seven batted they stand at 170.
“So there’s a big difference and the only way you get experience is by going out and playing. We’ve got guys back to play in quite a few test matches, in conditions where the ball went around a bit, but they didn’t come out and that’s a shame.” The England series result leaves the Proteas in second place on the ICC World Test Championship table. The team will now break up before being reassembled later in the year for their three-test tour to Australia.
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