South Africa Test captain Dean Elgar believes that his team playing the three-match series against India at home gives them 'little bit of an upper hand'. He added that with the team slated to play in a Test match after nearly six months meant that the players have taken time to hit the straps.
South Africa will be up against an Indian team looking for their first-ever series win in the Rainbow nation.
"I think it's pretty even-stevens. Us playing at home obviously gives us little bit of an upper hand. They (India) are ranked number one in the world and we can't look past that. They have been there for quite a while and you have to give them credit for that. They are the best side in the world and there's a ranking system for a reason. But the mere fact that we are playing in our backyard gives us still the upper hand going into the series," said Elgar in the virtual press conference.
South Africa last played a Test match against West Indies in June and Elgar admitted that it took a couple of days for the team to adjust to the demands of the long format. "It has taken us a few days. Luckily, we had three-day build-up at the Wanderers prior to us getting together at SuperSport Park. It has taken a few days to hit the straps but we kind of knew that it would be a part of the process in building up to the first game against India."
"I know some guys might have been little bit frustrated by not having the right rhythm they are used or accustomed to. It's nice to see the guys on the last training session today at SuperSport Park. Good to see everyone firing at the right level where we expect to be."
Elgar was appreciative of India's scintillating form in overseas conditions of late but insisted that he will try his level best in keeping the tourists away from their first-ever Test series win in South Africa. "It's something of which I am wary of. They have improved a lot with regards to their travelling record. I know Virat Kohli has emphasised on the point that they want to improve their record on the road. Extremely mindful of that as they have set themselves for that standard. I am sure they will be trying to fulfil it within this series."
"As much as I have the power of being the leader of this team, I will try to prevent them from fulfilling that role or dream of theirs. I think that makes it an exciting and extremely challenging series coming up for both teams. We know they will come out firing and extremely mindful of that. But I am pretty sure they will also know we will come out firing. Either way, going to be an extremely exciting Test series."
The 34-year-old, who plays for Titans in domestic cricket at SuperSport Park, hinted at left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj getting into the playing eleven for the first Test, starting from Sunday. "I am still a fan of playing a spinner and I think Keshav has performed a wonderful job for the team. He deserves his spot in the Test side and also the conditions here have actually changed and turned for the spinners. It is my home-ground and we don't have to worry about the ball not turning on the first three days."
"We have to set the game up for the last two days where one hopes the wicket will deteriorate and the spinner comes into play. Kesh has shown he can attack and contain and when the right time allows him, he can be a strike bowler. His ability to adapt isn't something we can ignore."