South Africa news: Elgar ready for Black Caps to bring the fire

Dean Elgar South Africa

South Africa captain Dean Elgar is wary of World Test Champions New Zealand despite some notable absences for the Black Caps.

Elgar said that New Zealand would be fierce opponents even without star men Kane Williamson and Trent Boult.

Williamson is recovering an elbow injury and will miss the entire Test series.

Follow New Zealand vs South Africa!

Boult, meanwhile, is away on paternity leave as he prepares for the birth of a child.

Elgar still expects a top-notch opponent to take to the field.

“We respect the New Zealand side in a big match here.

“They’ve had success even with the [leading] guys not around.

“They’ve had success with the current players that they have and we know they’re an extremely dangerous side in their conditions,” Elgar told reporters pre-match.

“They’re playing Test cricket for their country, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to their skill and it’s up to me [as captain] to make us understand that and align us in the job we have to fulfil in this Test series.”

The big question for the South Africa ahead of the Test series had been who would replace Keegan Petersen in the XI, and where they would bat.

It seems that Elgar and company have settled on Bruising left-hander Sarel Erwee a player who puts one in mind of David Warner.

Erwee is usually an opener and could take on the new ball alongside his skipper, while questions remain about the presence of a frontline spinner.

“We have a clear indication of what our balance is going to be even though we haven’t finalised our team yet,” said Elgar.

“Whether to employ a frontline spinner is a hot topic debate for us. It’s one of our bigger decisions, whether there’s space for one in conditions that aren’t necessarily helpful.

“History has shown that the spinners don’t play too much of a role at the Hagley Oval. So yeah, I can’t say yes or no just yet. Maybe wait and see what happens at the toss.”

New Zealand host South Africa in the first Test at Hagley Oval in Christchurch from Thursday 17 February.