South Africa captain Dean Elgar said inexperience in his batting lineup was hurting the team but demanded his players restore some pride in the badge after they suffered their heaviest defeat in Australia in the Melbourne test on Thursday.
South Africa were thrashed by an innings and 182 runs at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on day four to lose the series 2-0, leaving the third and final test in Sydney a dead rubber.
Bowled out for 204 after their first innings 189, the Proteas were embarrassed by the hosts, who posted a mammoth 575 for eight declared on day three.
“The inexperience is hitting us hard,” Elgar said at the post-match presentation.
“We have lost a lot of batters in the last few years. There is opportunities for guys to make their spots their own, but the inexperience is hurting us.”
South Africa lost Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock among several experienced batters in recent years, leaving Elgar and Temba Bavuma to shoulder a heavy burden.
The second innings in Melbourne was South Africa’s first total over 200 since Lord’s in the English summer, and came after they were skittled for 152 and 99 in the six-wicket defeat in the Brisbane opener on a tough Gabba wicket.
Bavuma was the only South Africa batsman to stand up with a half-century in the second innings in Melbourne, but was culpable in running out two team mates.
Having won the previous three test series in Australia, Elgar said their pride had been wounded.
“That’s what we’re playing for in the third test,” he told reporters.
“We’re playing for the badge, we’re playing for the pride of our team. I said (to the players) 2-1 sounds better than 3-0.
“So we’ve got to believe that we can still bounce back and put up a massive effort for the third test.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of guys hurting next door.”