866 deliveries – that’s all it took for the much-awaited first Test between South Africa and Australia – to get a result. Five-and-a-half sessions after South Africa were put into bat, there was a result: Australia won by six wickets. Whilst there were several poor batting decisions and rash shots, the pitch wasn’t overly conducive for good batting.
South African skipper Dean Elgar had a damming assessment of the conditions in Brisbane, calling it as a “poor advertisement” for the longest format of the game. Day one and two of the Gabba Test saw 34 wickets fall, with a slender batting average, that hasn’t been seen a whole lot in international cricket.
"Let's not waste any time. You've got to ask yourself - is that a good advertisement for our format? Thirty-four wickets in two days; a pretty one-sided affair I would say. We want to see the game go to four or five days,” Dean Elgar said in the post-match press conference.
"The nature of how it started to play, with some seriously steep bounce with the old ball, you're on a hiding to nothing as a batting unit. Only three batsmen applied themselves half decently and scored runs. I don't think that was a very good Test wicket."
Not just that, Elgar went on to even open up, alleging that the umpires ignored all questions about the playing conditions.
"When 'KG' got Head out down leg [on Sunday], I said, 'How long does it go on for before it potentially is unsafe?' Then Nortje was bowling those short ones that were flying over our heads. I know the game was dead and buried. It was never to change or put a halt to the game, but that was where the umpires' discretion comes into play; not us as players,” he added.
However, Elgar refused to comment on the safety of the pitch, but insisted that there was plenty of room for improvement, owing to the divots.
"I'm not a curator and I wouldn't know how to prepare a cricket pitch, but it was interesting to see how quickly this one actually did start divotting and how quickly the ball sped up; especially the new ball. Also today the older ball was flying through, which shouldn't be really happening. The divots had a big role to play, especially with the sideways movement and then up and down. And then the ball that's got that steep bounce, which is quite something to face."
Is there a possible debut? Elgar answered that question with diplomacy, stating that all options are still on the table, and necessarily did not point out at which direction the Proteas are heading.
"All options are on the table. But you still have to go away and give your batters the confidence and the positivity. The guys in the changeroom have played enough cricket to know that this was maybe one of those instances where... let's be honest and let's be real about what's just happened,” he added.
Yet again, the South African skipper and one of their most crucial batters, pointed out at how they were “jaffaed” out in the conditions that aided the bowlers.
“It's not like our guys were throwing wickets away. We were getting absolutely jaffaed out really. And [Australia] bowled properly. You've got to take all of that into consideration.”