Old habits will die hard: Proteas not convinced
SOUTH Africa opener Dean Elgar has baited the Aussies to return to their sledging ways, declaring "nice guys come second".
Elgar admitted the good guy transformation felt odd in the fourth Test under Tim Paine's captaincy, after the antagonistic and toxic series blew up last week after the ball-tampering scandal.
Elgar produced a decisive second innings, a classic Test knock of 81 off 250 deliveries, in a patient spell that would've most likely provoked some lip in the preceding three matches.
He doubts whether the Australia's mild-mannered on-field approach can continue beyond this series.
"You've got to have a bit of a tenacious approach sometimes in Test cricket. Nice guys come second, that's my saying,'' Elgar said.
"It's odd. I've played quite a few Tests against Australia and it's definitely been the most docile Test since I played Test cricket. I'm pretty sure it's not going to last very long.
"So I think you've got to have an element of a little bit of proper fight out there, and if your bowlers are clocking massive overs and they're biting their tongue, sooner or later they're going to unleash something.
"There's a lot of frustrations in the game and a lot of frustrations that happen within five days. So it's only human nature for guys to potentially say words to each other.
"But that's fine, if you're not personal and just having a competitive edge on the field, I'm extremely happy with that."
After a series of spite and low blows, the Payne-inspired "hand of peace" pre-game handshake between the combatants set the tone.
Then a warm embrace between Faf du Plessis and Peter Handscomb on day four after the ball struck the latter when the Proteas captain attempted a pull shot, was symbolic.
Elgar said he never minded the verbals.
"It's never nice being called nasty things on the field but I don't mind that, it gets me going, so I'll use it to advantage,'' he said.
"But saying that it's just another thing. Playing Test cricket for our country and we have a massive goal as a team and you need to put your personal (agendas) aside and focus on what the team needs.
"We've been quite hard on that goal and we're trying to achieve and it's not about me, always about the side."