South Africa vs Pakistan: Dean Elgar expects no complacency from hosts in third Test despite winning series

Dean Elgar hinted that South Africa would again opt to play four fast bowlers on a pitch which has usually favoured them.

Agence France-Presse, Jan 10, 2019 20:41:02 IST

Johannesburg: Stand-in South African captain Dean Elgar said on Thursday he had given a "blunt message" to his players ahead of the third and final Test against Pakistan, starting at the Wanderers Stadium on Friday.

"I spoke to the team yesterday and I told them that any complacency needs to be ironed out," said Elgar, who is standing in for the suspended Faf du Plessis. Elgar said South Africa were determined to complete a 3-0 clean sweep against the tourists.

File image of South Africa's Dean Elgar. AP

File image of South Africa's Dean Elgar. AP

There is a personal reason for Elgar to get a win as captain. His only previous international captaincy was in the first Test against England at Lord’s in 2017 when Du Plessis flew home to be at the birth of his first child.

South Africa were beaten in that match and Elgar admitted that he found the experience "chaotic".

"It was the start of a very big series with all the hype and media commitments, so I wasn’t really able to enjoy it," he said.

"This time we’ve got the series in the bag and although it’s still a massive goal to win 3-0 there is a little less stress. I’m hoping to enjoy this experience."

Elgar said South Africa had been in position to finish off opponents in the final Tests of previous series, notably against India last year, but had let the opportunities slip.

South Africa will move up to second place on the International Cricket Council Test rankings, which Elgar said he regarded as "a massive opportunity".

Elgar said he was "pretty sure" opening batting partner Aiden Markram would play after undergoing a fitness test on Thursday.

He also hinted that South Africa would again opt to play four fast bowlers on a pitch which has usually favoured them. "It looks a good wicket and hopefully it will have pace and bounce."

Pakistan's 'fiery' fast-bowlers

If South Africa went the all-seam route, Elgar said he would be aware of the problem of keeping up with the required over rate, following Du Plessis’s ban for a second over-rate offence in 12 months. "I will have to bowl a few overs," he said of his left-arm spin, "and (off-spinner) Aiden (Markram) may have to bowl a few overs too."

As an opening batsman, Elgar said he had been "mightily impressed" with Pakistan’s fast bowlers. "They come out with some fire. When conditions suit them, potentially they are up there with the best."

Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali said that although his team were disappointed to have lost the series, they hoped to bring their "A game" to the Wanderers.

"Every Test match you play outside (the UAE) is important for us. Hopefully we can win this Test match and it will be very good for us, especially with the one-dayers coming up."

Pakistan play a series of five one-day internationals after the Tests.

"Any tour of South Africa you learn a lot," said Azhar. "It is always tough. We tried to plan for it and practise for it but unfortunately it did not go to plan. But there are still some things we think we have achieved. A few of the batsmen got stuck in and showed they can play on these wickets."

Despite being Pakistan’s most experienced batsman, Azhar has had a poor series, with only 44 runs in four innings.

"Coming into this series I had good confidence and the way I was playing in nets and in the side (warm-up) game I felt very good," he said.

"Unfortunately I didn’t perform but I still have one game to play and hopefully I can convert that good touch in the middle."

Azhar said the Wanderers pitch looked better for batting than those for the first two Tests. "It looks a better track. Yes, it has grass but in terms of cracks, I think they will widen much later than in the first two Test matches."

Updated Date: Jan 10, 2019 20:41:02 IST

World Cup 2019 Points Table

Team p w l nr pts
Australia 5 4 1 0 8
New Zealand 4 3 0 1 7
India 4 3 0 1 7
England 4 3 1 0 6
Sri Lanka 5 1 2 2 4
West Indies 4 1 2 1 3
South Africa 5 1 3 1 3
Bangladesh 4 1 2 1 3
Pakistan 5 1 3 1 3
Afghanistan 4 0 4 0 0

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
6 Pakistan 4107 93
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254