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Elgar tips young Proteas to be Test power

Captain Dean Elgar says he always believed his young South African side could become a formidable team after they beat England by an innings and 12 runs within three days in the first Test at Lord’s.

South Africa’s bowling attack proved as venomous as had been expected but the inexperienced top six in the batting line-up also played their part in an unexpected victory on Friday.

“Everything has been a work in progress since I’ve taken over the captaincy but I always felt the core of the group had the basic fundamentals to one day become a world-renowned Test side,” Elgar told a post-match news conference.

Elgar said the players had grown in experience over the last 18 months into a winning collective.

They have won eight of 10 Tests since he took over against the West Indies, India, New Zealand and Bangladesh.

“They’ve put the individual stuff aside and actually focused on the team,”said Elgar.

“I’d like to think what we’ve laid down as a foundation has been pretty true and pretty solid.

“Our team goals are not unrealistic but pretty achievable. We are a special bunch and we play bloody good cricket when we’re doing well.”

Elgar hailed the batting as “pretty sturdy” but labelled the bowling attack, led by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and with a surprise haul of wickets for spinner Keshjav Maharaj, as “brilliant”.

South Africa began the day on 7-289 in response to England’s first innings 165 and went on to score 326 for a handsome 161-run lead.

They then bowled England out in less than 40 overs for 149 to wrap up the victory before the tea interval.

“I did not wake up this morning thinking that I’d be doing a press conference before five o’clock,” he joked.

“It was a pretty special squad performance.

“We haven’t left any stone unturned so far and hopefully we don’t go into a comfort zone … no, well, I’m definitely not going to let us go into a comfort zone, because I know what complacency can do in international sport.

“But we need to enjoy these moments, we did it at a really unique place and it’s special for a lot of guys that haven’t experienced Lord’s before.”

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