Dean Elgar rues conditions provided in practice match
- The opener, who has struggled against spin all series, hinted at the inadequacy of the preceding tour match.
As South Africa stare down a humiliating 2-0 blanking at the hands of hosts Sri Lanka, the justifications from their players for the loss knows no end. First captain Faf du Plessis spoke about the need to take the toss away from the game to make Test cricket evenly competitive and not skewed in the home side's favor, and now opener Dean Elgar has brought up the issue of the pitches provided in the practice matches.
"The two-day game that we played - all we faced in the top order was just seamers," he said. "I didn't face one ball of seam in the whole Test series. That's pretty street-smart, I'd say. They gave us a flat wicket that didn't turn, and that's pretty street-smart. The series starts really before the first ball is bowled.
"That gives the batters a lot of confidence because we are smashing everything. In the Tests, all we faced were spinners on pretty dusty wickets. That's also the mental aspect, so you have to find a way to deal with that."
Sri Lanka have gone with just one fast bowler in the entire series, their captain Suranga Lakmal, and even he has bowled just 39 deliveries in the course of the series. On the other hand, South Africa made the massive tactical blunder of going with three fast bowlers into both the Test matches and shockingly enough, with just one spinner in the second Test, a team seeming almost farcical looking at how the pitch played out.
While incompetence with the bat and lack of adaptability hurt South Africa, their selection strategies backfired as much.
That being said, the Proteas aren't the only side to have not have received adequate acclimatization to the conditions, England had to contend with second-XI line-ups and remote cricket grounds to play their practice matches on before the Ashes.
In 2017, the practice match played by Australia in Bangladesh before the two-match Test series featured a pace-heavy bowling line-up in the BCB XI, while it was very obvious that once the series began, spin will come to the fore.