TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
TALKING about the weather is the stuff of conversations that have nowhere else to go. But the topic was uppermost for Dean Elgar as leaden, leaky skies loosed a downpour onto already doused Dhaka on Monday.
“It’s very frustrating for us at the moment, especially after what we’ve been through at Chittagong,” Elgar said.
“It looks like the rain has followed us. It’s something we can’t control. We’ve just got to try and use the indoor facilities.
“But we are lucky we’ve got an experienced squad. We know what’s required of each player.”
The last two days of the first test in Chittagong were lost to rain and the forecast for all five days of the second and last match of the series – which starts in Dhaka on Thursday – features varying chances of the wet stuff.
That’s not what SA will want to hear after Chittagong, where they were forced to play catch-up cricket for three days before battling back to parity.
The visitors were 17 runs behind with all 10 wickets standing in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day – and that was where the weather called a halt.
The match amounted to not quite two-and-a-half full days’ play, probably not enough for even SA at their most dominant to force a result.
But, had they made a better fist of it in the first innings, when they were dismissed for 236, they would have answered some of the questions that now hang over them.
“In the sub-continent the first innings seems to be quite important for both teams and batting once is the ideal,” Elgar said. “But we understand there’s a lot of hard work that goes into doing that.
“It takes a lot of pressure off the side and then you can go out and express yourself with the ball.
“There’s a way to do it and we didn’t execute it well in the first test. We bounced back nicely and we have the guys in the changeroom to do that.”
The trick is not to have to bounce back – to play as well as a side like SA, a team that bristles with talent, skill, experience and reputation, must play from the get go; particularly against opponents they should show who’s boss every time they meet.
If SA had come even halfway close to that ideal more often on this tour they would not have lost the one-day series or looked like crayfish in the cooking pot in the first test.
On the bright side, the cricket and the weather don’t seem to be getting SA’s players down too much. At least, that goes for Elgar, who as his press conference started on Monday was moved to ask, “Am I announcing my retirement? There’s quite a lot of people here …”
That’s the spirit, rain or shine.