South Africa skipper Dean Elgar expressed happiness after his side defeated India in the third and final Test to clinch the three-match series 2-1 here at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday. India had won the first Test by 113 runs but South Africa registered wins in the second and third Test to clinch the series.
“Pretty elated. Obviously will sink in a day or two, maybe this evening. Really proud. We were thrown under the sword quite a few times this series and the guys responded brilliantly. Obviously, to bounce back after losing the first game, to believe that we could still win. Extremely happy (how things turned out ). Challenging your players, you need characters within the group and the bowling unit has been excellent all series. I had put up a challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly. Helps to have a group that doesn’t have any real big names, they like to rally together and play as one. And that’s crucial,” said Dean Elgar in a post-match presentation.
“Extremely proud of this group of players that we have here. Ultimately, if you want to operate at our performance levels, you need tough chats and I’m a bit of old-school mentality with a new-school twist. I laid a few challenges, even to some of the senior players as well. It was great to see the guys take my message on board. It’s great to see the guys buying into you from a captain’s point of view. I think us as a closed group, has helped us to feed off each other,” he added.
The Proteas skipper further praised Keegan Petersen for his breakthrough knocks, for which he got awarded the Player of the Series.
“We’ve played as a unit and we’ve grown massively as a group in the last two Tests. If you want to compete in Test cricket and be no.1 someday, you have to beat the best in the world. I’m really happy that things went well for us. Could easily have gone wrong and I’d have had egg on my face. As I said earlier, really proud of this group. We’re by no means a finished article, I can tell you that. I’m already thinking of the next series. There are some negatives also that we need to work on,” said the skipper.
“I think the way he (Petersen) responded since the first game has been immense. Always known him as a good player, he’s gotten into a great player mould now and it’s a lot to say for a player who has hardly played a handful of games. He has dominated domestic cricket for a while now and it’s great to see him do so well in the last two Tests. He’s willing to learn and you need characters like that,” he added.
Needing 41 runs to win after the Lunch on Day 4, Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma took South Africa over the line with ease on Friday. As a result, India failed to win their maiden Test series on South African soil after losing the third match by seven wickets.
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