Elgar 'elated' to see resurgent South Africa rise to the challenge of beating India

By Sports Desk January 14, 2022

An "elated" Dean Elgar expressed his pride and says South Africa must continue to grow after they came from behind to seal a 2-1 Test series win over India.

The Proteas completed the turnaround at Newlands on day four, winning by seven wickets to ensure the tourists' wait for an elusive Test series triumph in South Africa goes on.

Keegan Petersen top scored with 82 as Elgar's side chased down their target of 212 to secure victory by the same margin they accomplished in the second Test at the Wanderers.

Shardul Thakur's dismissal of Petersen was the only wicket India took on the penultimate day, with Rassie van der Dussen (41 not out) and Temba Bavuma (32no) seeing South Africa home after lunch in Cape Town.

The Proteas looked to be up against in after losing the first Test in Centurion by 113 runs before being rocked when Quinton de Kock dropped a bombshell by retiring from Test cricket.

Captain Elgar says his side must take huge credit for rising to the challenge with a brilliant fightback in a captivating series as they moved above India to go fourth in the World Test Championship table.

The opener said: "I'm pretty elated, I Couldn't be prouder of the group. The guys responded brilliantly. After the first loss, had a lot of hope knowing we can still win this.

"I asked the players to respond in a better nature, better way and they responded brilliantly. I'm extremely happy. Challenging your players within the group, you need character to stand up. The way our bowling unit delivered throughout the series is brilliant.

"I threw down the challenge after the first game and the guys responded brilliantly. We've got a young, talented group. Every day in this environment, we're gaining this experience.

"It's unreal to see how a group that doesn't have the repertoire or names can gel together as one. I'm extremely proud of this group. If you want to operate at a high performance level, have to have tough chats.

"If guys don't like it, it's up to them to deal with. I've got old-school mentality with a new-school twist. We laid down challenges to senior players as well, great to see them take it on board and deliver.

"Us as a close group, we've been hurting a little bit and it's something for us to feed off. We played as a unit, if you can do that, if you have guys moving away, it's a challenge to pull them in.

"I think as a unit, we've grown massively over the last two Tests. I'm already thinking of the next series. Lot of positives, but in order to grow, we need to curb the challenges we have."

Elgar was full of praise for number three Petersen, 28, who scored a half-century in both innings of the final Test to pick up both the man of the match and player of the series awards.

The skipper said: "He's dominated domestic cricket, awesome to see him have a great series. Long may he grow, there's lot of improvement from his point of view.

"The world is his oyster. Even though he's someone older, he's winning to learn. He's a proper character within that team environment. I'm proud of what he has achieved."

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