South Africa’s Dean Elgar says the third and final Test against India at Newlands on Tuesday is his team’s biggest match in 15 years as they look to win a series against the number one side in the world and provide confidence to a new group of players.
India won the first Test by 113 runs in Pretoria, before the home side bounced back with a seven wicket win in the second in Johannesburg, boosted by skipper Elgar’s unbeaten 96 in the second innings as they chased down 240 to win.
For a South Africa team that has lost a number of experienced players in recent years and slipped to number six in the ICC Test Rankings, victory in Cape Town could be a turning point, according to Elgar.
“This Test match is potentially the biggest we have had in 15 years,” Elgar told reporters on Monday. “It would be the biggest win of my playing career and massive for us.”
“We have been playing pretty good cricket, though we have had quite a few things not go our way. We have been doing everything right.”
“What we did in the last test as a playing group speaks volumes about us. Winning this series would be huge.”
Elgar does not foresee any changes to his side and expects the players to be up for the fight.
“We are trying to be as stable as possible with regards the playing XI. We saw at The Wanderers (in the second Test), the moment we brought the intensity it seemed to fluster the Indians quite a lot. It would be silly for us to not try and replicate that,” he added.
The Newlands pitch is traditionally a seamer’s paradise, with Australia bowled out for 47 in 2011 and New Zealand for 45 in 2013, but does not have the pace and bounce of Highveld tracks.
Elgar believes the wicket for this game will potentially see the match go five days.
“The conditions look good, I think it is the best I have seen Newlands for quite some time,” he said.
“They are trying to prepare a good Test wicket, they want it to deteriorate on day four and five. I think they want us to play five days of cricket.”
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