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. 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.
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.” 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.
Squads: South Africa (Probables): Dean Elgar (C), Aiden Markram/Pieter Malan, Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Zubayr Hamza, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada.
Pakistan (Probables): Imam ul Haq, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed (C & WK), Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Abbas, Hasan Ali/Shaheen Afridi.