Johannesburg: South African batting consultant Justin Sammons pointed out that captain Dean Elgar’s role will be extremely important in chasing 240 against India in the second Test at the Wanderers.
Elgar showed serious grit and was defiant in his unbeaten stay of 46 on day three of the Test. With 122 runs needed to level the series, South Africa will be banking on Elgar to lead the way with the bat.
“His role will be massively important. Having somebody there to bat for the rest of the innings would be the key. That allows for the partnerships to be formed. Just having someone with his character for the guys coming in to be, I think it’s massively important. His leadership will go a long way in getting us over the line tomorrow,” said Sammons while replying to a query from IANS in the virtual press conference.
Sammons also hailed the stubborn and competitive nature of Elgar, something which has always gone hand in hand while describing the left-hander. Elgar took many blows on himself, hit on the shoulder twice and smashed on the gloves once. “Dean is definitely a tough cookie. He’s a competitor. The thing he loves about the game is the competitiveness. The competitive nature of Test cricket brings the best out of him. That allows his character to shine through.”
Sammons was hopeful of other batters in South Africa to do well in knocking off the 122 runs needed to ace the chase on a challenging pitch. “The message for the guys coming in would be to see how the morning plays out and we just have to be adaptive. We need to get through the first hour and play according to the situation.”
“It’s been an interesting wicket, not the easiest deck to bat on. It goes without saying, the task is not going to be easy. The Indian attack has been relentless. But we believe we can chase it down. The way we batted this afternoon, it’s a case of point there. We need to stick to our plans and keep doing what we know will give us our biggest chance of success, it’s as simple as that.”
South Africa are playing a Test series after featuring in two matches against West Indies in June. In the build-up to the series, some players participated in the four-day domestic matches while some were a part of the ‘A’ team for the three four-day matches against India ‘A’ in Bloemfontein.
Asked about what has been lacking in South Africa’s performances with the bat in the series, Sammons said, “The basics of Test cricket is about leaving the ball well and ultimately it boils down to know where your off stump is. Having not played a lot of red ball cricket played a part. So we had to make sure that the guys are in touch with the game.”
“It’s about the need for being decisive. It’s something that we discussed at length. We had to come out of any sort of tentativeness. It’s always easier said than done. The guys have come out and showed positive intent and it’s there to see how they have gone about it.”