South Africa captain Dean Elgar: England’s series success came by orthodox means

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South Africa captain Dean Elgar believes England have not rewritten the playbook for Test cricket, insisting the hosts’ LV= Insurance series success came by orthodox means.

Much has been made of England’s aggressive approach in the longest format under captain Ben Stokes this summer, playfully dubbed ‘Bazball’ in homage to head coach Brendon McCullum.

While England have distanced themselves from the term, it is one that seemed to irritate some in the South Africa camp pre-series, with Elgar saying he would not “entertain that phrase anymore”.

South Africa lost the three-match Test series against England 2-1 (John Walton/PA)
South Africa lost the three-match Test series against England 2-1 (John Walton/PA)

And when asked about his reflections on ‘Bazball’ after England’s nine-wicket win in the decisive third Test on Monday morning, Elgar bristled: “I’m not speaking about that.”

While there were just nine days of on-field action across the three-match series, with England winning 2-1, Elgar rejected the theory Stokes’ side prevailed because of a supremely positive intent.

“I actually thought they played relatively good Test cricket,” he said. “I didn’t think they played extraordinary cricket and they played the correct tempo.

“I don’t think it was out of the ordinary.

“When their tail was up they sought a moment and they went for it. I didn’t think they played ultra aggressive cricket, I just thought they played good cricket.

“I didn’t see that ‘B-word’ at all coming through, I just felt they controlled it well. And this is throughout the whole series, I thought they played pretty accurate Test cricket.”