Cricket

New Zealand vs South Africa: Captain Dean Elgar banks on shaken Proteas bouncing back in must-win second Test

Elgar's men are in danger of becoming the first South Africa team to lose a series to New Zealand when the second and final Test begins Friday at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

New Zealand vs South Africa: Captain Dean Elgar banks on shaken Proteas bouncing back in must-win second Test

File image of Dean Elgar. AP

South Africa captain Dean Elgar admitted on Thursday his side's confidence had taken a hit after their first Test humiliation against New Zealand, but backed his side to improve in the must-win second Test.

Elgar's men are in danger of becoming the first South Africa team to lose a series to New Zealand when the second and final Test begins Friday at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.

The Proteas suffered an innings and 276-run thrashing in the first Test on the same ground last week, which was all over in the first session of the third day.

Elgar said the performance was "frustrating and disappointing" but he was banking on his side turning around their fortunes.

"There are guys who are a little low in confidence, especially from a batting point of view," he said.

"You're always that one knock away from being in good form again.

"I'm kind of banking on that theory and what happened in the first Test will be a thing of the past."

Both sides have delayed naming their side until just before Friday's toss, which New Zealand crucially won in the first Test, asking South Africa to bat on a green wicket ideal for seam and swing.

New Zealand are unlikely to alter a winning combination but Elgar suggested South Africa could make changes.

"It's a big possibility, no doubt. I think we've 12 or 13 guys who can make up our starting eleven," he said, indicating places were still up for grabs as late as the final pre-Test training session on Thursday.

The Black Caps, by contrast, are full of confidence and were named the nation's sports team of the year at an awards ceremony on Wednesday night after winning the World Test Championship in 2021, with regular captain Kane Williamson picking up the sportsman of the year trophy.

A draw in the second Test against South Africa would give New Zealand a historic first Test series win over the Proteas in 17 attempts dating back 90 years, while victory and a 2-0 sweep would see them dislodge Australia at the top of the world rankings.

Tom Latham, standing in as captain while Williamson recovers from an elbow injury, said gaining World Test Championship points was the sole focus as New Zealand defend the crown they won by beating India in the final in England last year.

"You need as many points as possible so I guess our focus is to come out, adapt to the conditions as best we can and go from there," he said.

"Points at home are very vital. Nowadays in cricket it's very hard to win away from home, so points in our own country are really important."

Updated Date: February 24, 2022 16:22:48 IST

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