The Proteas will take a lot of confidence out of their form over the past eight months, having won the Test series against the West Indies and No. 1 India, who is level with the reigning World Testing Champion in New Zealand, won 13 of 16 T20 internationals and also India hammered 3-0 in an ODI series.
So there are clear signs of regrowth in a team that appears to have turned the corner under Mark Boucher and Dean Elgar.
They will be playing another test series in a month’s time hosting Bangladesh in Durban and Gqeberha, and coach Boucher is eager to keep climbing up the World Test Championship table, having already taken crucial points from last year’s two finalists.
The 12 points achieved this week in Christchurch put South Africa in fourth place.
“It’s been a tough couple of months without much time at home with our families and then there’s Bangladesh, that’s going to be another tough series,” said Boucher.
“We are still very active in the World Test Championship and we will draw confidence from this series in New Zealand and learn from our mistakes in the first test. But it is clear that we are on the right track.”
Given the tremendous resilience the team has shown in coming back from a 1-0 deficit against both India and New Zealand, it was only fitting that Boucher paid tribute to his captain Elgar for his leadership.
“Dean talks a lot, but he follows it up with action,” Boucher said. “We knew we were going to be under pressure in the second game and we talked about walking to the challenge and not running away.
“We understood what it took in the second test and there were some brave calls like Dean winning the toss and batting first, then batting as he did. It’s not like he was hitting number 5.
“He’s the lead striker and he went forward and ran straight into the pressure. He’s been fantastic and I know the team looks up to him in a very strong way and supports him.”