Proteas captain Dean Elgar said he was okay with a lot on the eve of the first Test against Australia, including the home team’s incredible record in Brisbane and what looks likely to be a paceman-friendly pitch for his struggling batters to contend with against a powerful attack.
Australia have lost just one Test – versus India in January 2021 – at the Gabba in 33 matches dating back to December 1989. Surprisingly, South Africa have only played one Test in Queensland in that time, the draw in 2012 when Michael Clarke scored 259 not out after centuries by Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis.
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“History is not in our favour in Brisbane, but that’s okay,” Elgar said on Friday. “This group of players doesn’t have any dirty laundry at the Gabba, we haven’t played here as a group so there have been no failures.
“We are looking forward to the opportunity, in fact for the last two weeks here we have been salivating for this moment. Australia is a really tough place to play, but so rewarding if you get it right.
“The pitch looks the same colour as the grass I’m standing on in the outfield, but green doesn’t scare us, we’re used to pretty green and juicy pitches in South Africa.
“The ball nips around a bit here, but that’s okay. The pitches are fair and the batsmen know that if they get in then they can really capitalise. And it looks like it will suit our bowling unit,” Elgar said.
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Elgar acknowledged the whispers around the South African batting line-up and the opening batter was quick to say he needs to lead from the front with big runs.
“All our batsmen must stand up, our batting unit has been a talking point of late. We’re not shying away from that and it’s time for us to rise up and shine.
“It’s time for me personally to put in a massive performance. As the senior batsman, you always carry the weight of responsibility and as captain I’m very aware of my burden.
“I’ve got to lead from the front, but that’s something I thrive on, I believe it brings out the best in me.
“The rest of our batsmen are just a bit inexperienced in Test cricket, but that also means they don’t have any baggage,” Elgar said.
Australia’s strong attack will no doubt be looking to hit hard and early in order to undermine that confidence.