Boucher praises fight of leaders Elgar, Bavuma in historic Proteas series win

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Mark Boucher (Gallo)
Mark Boucher (Gallo)
  • Mark Boucher says this Test series win over India must rank as one of the best for South Africa. 
  • The Proteas coach praised the roles of leaders Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma in leading the charge. 
  • South Africa beat India, the top-ranked side in Test cricket, 2-1 in the series.

Proteas head coach Mark Boucher has heaped praise on the character shown by his side after their famous 2-1 series win over India. 

South Africa had gone 1-0 down in the series after losing the Boxing Day Test at Centurion, and as Boucher pointed out after Friday's third Test triumph at Newlands, few had given them a chance after that. 

Two stunning performances followed, as the Proteas won the second Test at the Wanderers and then the third at Newlands on Friday. 

In both matches, South Africa had to chase scores of over 200 - 240 in Johannesburg and 212 in Cape Town - and the resilience they showed with the bat on both occasions secured a series victory that will go down as one of the greatest in the history of this cricketing nation. 

Boucher said this was "right up there" in terms of the series he had been involved in both as a player and a coach, but he was quick to shift the focus to his players who got the job done. 

"It's been great," Boucher said when asked to respond to the fight and character shown by his charges. 

"It doesn't surprise me, because you've got Dean as well who is that sort of character and he led from the front.

"You've got Temba as the vice-captain who is the same fighter with that spirit in him, so you've got two leaders like that who the guys are going to follow.

"The guys stood up with regards to their own games as well."

The character was shown, Boucher added, in the way the Proteas bounced back despite the largely shared belief that they were no match for the top-ranked Indians going into the series.

"A lot of people, including the media, had written us off after day one of the first Test," the coach said. 

"To come back after losing the first day badly to then compete in the first Test, and then to win the second and third Tests ... this Indian team is probably the best team in world cricket Test-wise at the moment.

"This is something that our boys certainly won't take for granted."

Despite having played 147 Tests and 295 ODIs for his country as a player, Boucher acknowledged that he was feeling the nerves on the morning of day four when the Proteas needed 111 runs to win with eight wickets in hand. 

"It was quite a nervous day for the changeroom," said Boucher.

"As a coach you actually have your hands tied behind your back and you can't go out there and change the game at all, but from a nerves perspective, it was one of my more nervous Test days.

"The whole Test series was hard-fought, good cricket.

"It must be up there with one of the best Test series to be played, certainly in South Africa."

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