(Reuters) - South Africa's stand-in captain Dean Elgar says their three-day warm-up fixture against England Lions that starts on Thursday is a chance to build vital momentum and confidence ahead of the four-match test series next month.
South Africa have been second-best in the One-Day International and Twenty20 series in England this year, and also suffered a first-round exit in the Champions Trophy, but Elgar believes the red ball can signal a change in fortunes.
“We have to compete against a very good England Lions side,” Elgar told reporters.
“To get that competitive edge will be a big thing for us. Naturally the guys will have that instinct in them so we have an important three days, weather permitting.
“We have a lot of new faces which is exciting for us. There is a different energy within the test side irrespective of how things have gone in the past. The energy is always in a good place for test cricket, which is what I want for the boys.”
Elgar is leading the side in the place of Faf du Plessis, who has returned to South Africa to be with his wife for the birth of the couple’s first child. He is not yet sure to return for the first test at Lord's on July 6.
Elgar is relishing stepping into the role.
“It has been a dream of mine since I have been a young boy and even if it doesn’t happen at Lord’s it’s still a great opportunity for me to be a senior leader within the group. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
South Africa have won their last four consecutive test series, against New Zealand (home and away), Australia (away) and Sri Lanka (home).
Reporting By Nick Said; Editing by Toby Davis