The Castle Lager Proteas have described the opening day of the third Sunfoil Test match against England at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium as a “good day” . All of the batsmen grinded out the challenging conditions and persistent spells from England’s bowlers but some gave their wickets away softly after making starts.
The lower-order fightback by Chris Morris (26 not out) and Kagiso Rabada (20 not out), on which a lot of emphasis has been placed on throughout the series, will have given the squad some comfort at stumps on day one.
Dean Elgar, who top-scored with 46, feels it will be difficult to judge what a par first innings total will be until both teams have batted, but feels anything above 300 will be a competitive total considering the tricky conditions.
“I think in a way there were one or two wickets too many that fell,” he said of the day. “I think it’s that kind of wicket where you can always lose a few in quick succession if you are relatively new at the crease. All in all I think it was a good day for us. It was a hard fought session or two with the bat upfront so I think in the end we will take the score that we have at the end of the day.
“ It’s been a focal point that we have been working on with our batting unit, that is for our late middle-order and lower batsmen to come in and make a big play for us,” he said. “We have seen in the past that when the tail wags it is really frustrating for the opposition when they get runs. It was a brilliant effort from Chris and Kagiso to put into practice what we have been talking about.”
It was a manic start to the day with the freak injury to Quinton de Kock and the late call-up of Dane Vilas, but the squad has continued as usual and taken the disruptions in their stride.
“There is absolutely nothing you can do,” Elgar said of freak injuries. “I have mentioned it in the past that we are a tight and strong unit. It’s one of those things, I’ve spoken about adapting to the wicket, I guess it’s also one of those things that you have to adapt to as a professional player. It’s unfortunate that it happened to Quinton, it seems to happen to him a lot, but it’s one of those challenges that you will be faced with and you just have to crack on and deal with it.”
Quinton de Kock injury update
Quinton de Kock was sent for scans to determine the extent of his knee injury. The scans revealed a mild strain to the right knee which will be monitored and treated over the next few days. His availability for the next Test match will depend on how he responds to the treatment and rehab over the next few days.