Proteas captain Dean Elgar admitted to having to bite his tongue at times after the second Test capitulation against Australia, as well as believing in positive affirmation for his team, but when he described their innings-and-182-run thrashing at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday as a “pretty weak performance”, it was prim and proper criticism.
South Africa struggled to 204 all out in 68.5 overs on Friday, Australia having piled up 575/8 declared in response to the tourists’ inadequate 189 in the first innings.
READ MORE: Proteas batters find new ways to disappoint – 189 all out
The hosts took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series and South Africa’s lack of fight with the bat was not befitting a team with their legacy in Australia, where they have won their last three Test rubbers.
“It was a pretty weak performance in conditions that were in favour of really good Test cricket,” Elgar said.
“It’s pretty disappointing how we ended up when I wanted to see us really give the Aussies a fight, really value our wickets.
“We showed a lot more character with ball in hand, even though they batted us into the ground. There was not as much character in our batting and it is tough to digest.
“But we need to keep going, I still believe in positive affirmation for my team and the guys that are here are talented cricketers and hardened first-class players, just not at international level.
“You’ve got to believe that you are just one knock away from finding form and I keep reminding them that they are not crap cricketers. We’ll be playing for the badge and the pride of the team in the third Test,” Elgar said.
Temba Bavuma, who provided most of the resistance on Friday with a 201-minute innings of 65, told SuperSport after the game that the hunger David Warner had shown in scoring 200 before retiring with severe cramps was the sort of example the Proteas batsmen needed to follow.
“The batting is a worry, it was not good enough on probably one of the better pitches we’ve played on recently. Australia showed it, with Warner really making it count, but unfortunately we could not put anything of substance together,” Bavuma said.
ALSO READ: Proteas batters fail again, handing Australia series victory
“Australia have done things right, while we have not done it for long periods. Warner started with good intensity, he put the bowlers under pressure, scored at every opportunity and, most importantly, made it count to the point of almost putting himself in hospital. He showed what is required,” Bavuma said.