Too many risks, no reward for Du Plessis
BLOOD WAS seeping through the plaster on Dean Elgar’s left hand, there was tape on one finger of his right hand and in between questions at his post-match presser he dropped his head, so exhausted was he.
He immediately claimed that he was ready for the fourth and final Test, however. Bloodied, bruised and in need of a shave, it was nevertheless the type of innings he’s worked his whole career to play.
“I prefer not getting hit,” he smiled, “but so be it, it’s part of the game, you have to take the blows.”
And Elgar did; to both hands, both thighs, his chest, his hip, so merciless were England that at one point a throw from the boundary struck him on the back. Elgar, wouldn’t have it any other way.
“You’ve got to take the positive out of it. I guess only an opening batsman could see it that way.”
He endured a barrage from Ben Stokes on Sunday evening but relished being part of a battle.
“It’s brilliant, that’s why you play the game. As a kid you witness that on TV and you hear the crowd singing the person’s name etc, and you don’t get a better occasion than yesterday. You’ve have to try and put it on your side as well, get motivated, revelation, scoring useful late runs ball better than anyone could have imagined. He wiped out SOUTH AFRICA, already taking a risk carrying an erratic bowler in Chris Morris, then took a risk in starting with an ill Vernon Philander in this Test – and it backfired badly for them.
And that’s a few too many risks for a team that’s still finding itself as a Test unit.
Dean Elgar is a mighty tough individual, as he showed through five and a half hours of batting in the second innings of this Test, but he can’t carry the batting by himself and he certainly can’t carry the team when the bowlers are not up the standard’s usually expected of them.
South Africa were out-bowled here.
However, their misfortune must be weighed up against the risk they took in playing Philander, who Faf du Plessis acknowledged that you almost have to be a little more stubborn, tighter in your gameplan, so you can use it in your own game. It’s a great occasion facing a guy like that. He’s a big match player and he’d going to come hard, it’s a great battle playing against him.”
Faf du Plessis said Elgar’s innings has shown his teammates the way and he’s expecting them to follow suit in Manchester, where South Africa have to win to draw the series.
Du Plessis acknowledged that the series has been bizarre, given the huge margins of victories from one Test match to the next.
“It’s a mystery to all of us. first innings, getting Amla with a beauty and finishing with 5/57. Three more wickets came in the second innings. He has a strong action and as the pitch map showed, he’s a disciplined bowler, he’ll do well in Australia later this year. Moeen Ali The 100th (men’s Test) at The Oval required something was 50 percent fit. Despite his discomfort, he was still able to pick up two wickets - “even at 50% he’s still better than most,” remarked Du Plessis.
The trouble was the rest of the attack weren’t – Morne Morkel is bowling well in this series, but Kagiso Rabada, having not played since Lord’s, only looked to have found his rhythm in England’s second innings. Morris struggled to step up to that third seamer role, not providing sufficient control, and as a result he was a release of pressure for England’s batsmen every time he bowled.
The radical difference between good Morris – who is excellent as those two spells at Trent Bridge showed – and bad Morris - who bowled just one maiden in this Test and conceded 161 runs – is simply too big for the kind of There hasn’t been consistently good performances from either team. We were almost never in this Test match. It has been a bizarre series in that way. Hopefully, that trend continues and it will come back to us in the last one.”
Du Plessis cited the improvement shown by Kagiso Rabada in England’s second innings as reasons for optimism ahead of the Old Trafford finale, and along with Morne Morkel, who’s bowled well in this series and a hopefully fully fit Vernon Philander, he remains positive South Africa can put England’s batting under pressure.
As far as his own team’s batting’s more memorable than just an England win and Moeen provided, with a hat-trick to win the match. It was the first by an England spinner since 1938, just the third time a hat-trick had ended a Test, the first time in Test cricket that all three victims were left-handed batsmen and the first time a hat-trick was taken here in a Test match. Test game Du Plessis wants South Africa to play.
A long-term option at the top of the order is what South Africa need most urgently, however, if they are to start resolving their batting problems, too.
Du Plessis said afterwards that if it was solely up to him, Heino Kuhn will start the fourth Test in Manchester on Friday, despite averaging just 13 in the series so far.
Du Plessis’s explanation for the batting troubles under his tenure centre around the nature of pitches they’ve played on and the quality of the bowlers they’ve faced.
Not since Elgar and Stephen Cook put on 64 at Newlands against Sri Lanka in January, has there been an opening stand of more than 50 and you have to concerned, that remains a worry with Elgar carrying a heavy burden. Du Plessis backed Heino Kuhn to retain his spot for Manchester.
“It is a tough place to try and make an impact straight away,” said Du Plessis.
“It’s like a middle order batsman going to India for the first time and you come in and the ball is spinning two metres. This is a really hard job, and we shouldn’t be too hard on judging him – in a really tough series.”
Elgar, who’s had five different opening partners in the last two years, said not having an established mate at the top of the order Luckily Dean took that hundred monkey off our shoulders now, so hopefully the batters can respond in terms of he showed us exactly what is needed to bat in Test match cricket. It’s not going to be easy, ever. It’s about applying yourself, absorbing a lot of pressure even at times where it’s really uncomfortable ... and then you will get the opportunity to go back to the Boxing Day Test in PE for the last time the openers recorded a century stand.
Elgar and Quinton de Kock are the only two South African batsmen averaging above 40 this year, and in De Kock’s case most of his runs have come in the No 7 spot.
No praise is high enough for Elgar’s knock in the second innings of this Test. He received a warm standing ovation as he trudged off the field – the first victim of Moeen Ali’s match ending hattrick – after a monumental effort.
England can no longer lose this series and thus retain the Basil D’Oliviera trophy. In contrast to South Africa, their cricket was of the highest quality – lessons clearly were learned from the barrage of criticism they took following the defeat at Trent Bridge. made the game much harder.
“It is a tough one, it is a little bit up and down, disruptive, especially when you’re playing in this country where the opposition is high class and in their own conditions, they are going to bring out the small weaknesses if you have a new combination.”
“From a personal point of view you have to stick to your gameplan. You can’t really let it affect your gameplan, because then the bigger picture is going to be affected. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, we will have a substantial partnership so that we can obviously solidify a pair for quite a long time.” score runs. He did that today, it’s good from the unit’s point of view that he did it today, so we’ll be trying to do exactly what he did in that last Test match.” Faf du Plessis, saying Elgar’s set an example the rest of the SA batsmen need to follow. There have only been two centuries by a Proteas batsman in the team’s last six Tests – both scored by Elgar.