South Africa captain Dean Elgar said inexperience in his batting line-up hurt the team, but demanded his players restore some pride to 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 embarrassed the hosts, who posted a mammoth 575 for eight on day three.
“The inexperience hits us hard,” Elgar said during the post-match presentation.
“We have lost a lot of batters in recent years. There are opportunities for guys to make their place their own, but the inexperience hurts us.
South Africa lost in recent years to several experienced hitters Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, leaving Elgar and Temba Bavuma with a heavy burden on their shoulders.
The second innings at Melbourne was South Africa’s first total of over 200 since Lord’s in the English summer, and came after being shot for 152 and 99 in the six wicket rout in the Brisbane opener on a heavy Gabba wicket.
Bavuma was the only South African batsman to hold out for half a century in Melbourne’s second innings, but was at fault for two teammates running out.
Having won the previous three test series in Australia, Elgar said their pride was hurt.
“That’s what we’re playing for in the third test,” he told reporters.
“We play for the badge, we play for the pride of our team. I said (to the players) 2-1 sounds better than 3-0.
“So we have to believe we can still bounce back and put in a huge effort for the third test.
“I’m sure there are a lot of guys in pain next door.” (Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; editing by Peter Rutherford)