Proteas captain Dean Elgar says there could be some “feisty” moments in their first Test series against Australia since the “Sandpapergate” scandal.
The two sides pad up on Saturday in Brisbane for the first time since the infamous 2018 cheating row in which Australia attempted to alter the ball using sandpaper in Cape Town.
It kicks off the first of a three-Test series, with the hosts boasting an enviable record at the Gabba, losing just once since 1988, against India in 2021.
But South Africa have rarely played at the fortress ground and it holds few fears for Elgar’s men.
“We don’t have any dirty laundry when it comes to playing at the Gabba because we haven’t played here yet,” he said.
“The history here is not in our favour, and that’s OK. The fact we haven’t had any failures here might work in our favour.
“We’ve been here for two weeks and have been salivating for this moment. We’re looking forward to getting going.”
Shadows of “Sandpapergate” inevitably hang over the Test, with two of the main culprits, Steve Smith and David Warner, both playing for Australia.
Elgar said his team hadn’t spoken about the incident and insisted there were no grudges.
“There will be moments no doubt when there will be a few feisty encounters, hopefully it doesn’t reach the stage we experienced in 2018,” he said.
“There are no grudges, but we want to win, they want to win, there will always be a moment when ego and heat of the moment get to the guys. But I think it will be better controlled.”
The tourists have one of the most hostile pace attacks in world cricket, spearheaded by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, and Elgar admitted bowling “is our strength”, with their batsmen struggling recently.
But he suggested he could make Australia field first if he won the toss.
“Generally I think in Australia you want to bat first as runs on the board is massive. But we won’t make a decision just yet,” he said, adding that they had settled on a starting side but would only reveal it on Saturday.
“All the batters have to stand up. It’s been a bit of a talking point that’s been surrounding our batting unit of late, I’ve never shied away from that.
“It’s time for the guys to rise up, it’s time for me personally to put my hand up and make a massive play for us,” he added.
“But in saying that, we have a really talented group, they’re just a bit inexperienced when it comes to Test cricket. But that’s OK, they don’t have a lot of baggage.”
© Agence France-Presse