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Elgar: There is a lot of pride at stake whenever you play against Australia

South Africa’s Test Opener Dean Elgar expects an intense series between two proud cricketing powerhouses.

Proteas' batsmen Dean Elgar and Faf du Plessis share a moment during the first day of the second Test against Australia in Port Elizabeth on 20 February 2014. Picture: Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG- South Africa’s Test Opener Dean Elgar says the country’s pride is always at stake whenever they play against Australia.

The plucky opening batsman addressed the media ahead of the first Test at Kingsmead in Durban, which will serve as the venue for the first of four Test matches between the two sides.

A series win for the Proteas will ensure they finish second on the ICC Test rankings at the 3 April cut-off date, but more importantly, it would be the first time a South African team has beaten Australia in a series at home.

Elgar expects an intense series between two proud cricketing powerhouses.

“We are extremely excited for this Test series against Australia. It’s always a good battle against them, whether you are playing at home or away, it’s always a great contest. We are looking forward to four Tests, it’s nice to have a series that is longer than three Tests, the boys will be ready to go come Thursday.

“There is a lot of pride at stake, but in saying that, there is a lot of respect between the two teams. You must try your best to beat each other, that is why we play the game. That is why the crowds want to watch a series like this, they want to see the battle between bat and ball, whoever is the fittest and fastest will come out on top. It’s going to be a great affair, I’m sure the fans are excited about this series.”

Australia have never lost a series in South Africa and are on the back of a 4-0 Ashes series win against England, while the Proteas have beaten Australia in Australia for three consecutive series and are fresh from a 2-1 win against the No.1 ranked India.

Elgar says the squad will take some reassurance from their recent results against the visitors but will have to start afresh against the Aussies come Thursday morning.

“Our previous encounter is a fond memory for us,” Elgar said of the 2-1 win in Australia in 2016.

“Having the ability to beat them in Australia is an encouraging factor, knowing that the last time we played against each other we had the upper hand. It is a new series, it is a blank piece of paper starting on Thursday, anything can happen. Both Test sides have had very good records in the last year or two which is exciting, and it will be promising for both sides going into the series.”

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