South Africa batsman Dean Elgar has lauded Australian pair Shane Watson and Mitchell Starc ahead of the second Test in Adelaide, while also admitting the Proteas missed their chance in the series opener.
The 25-year-old only arrived in Australia earlier this week as a replacement for JP Duminy, who ruptured his Achilles while training after the first day of the drawn opening Test in Brisbane.
And while he is unlikely to take Duminy's place in the team for the Adelaide Oval Test, with Faf du Plessis expected to win the nod, Elgar was quick to talk up how impressive Australia's star all-rounder is.
"He's a seriously gifted cricketer with bat and ball," Elgar said of Watson, who is racing the clock in order to prove his fitness and return from a calf injury after missing the first Test in Brisbane.
"I think he is a guy that's definitely spoken of (in meetings), obviously I haven't been in the set-up here for too long to know what they speak of, of him.
"But I'm sure either way, whoever plays, South Africa will give it a proper crack in the second Test."
As for Starc, Elgar may never have faced the left-arm quick on the field - after injury forced him out when they had been set to clash previously - but he has kept a close eye on his progress.
Starc was 12th man in Brisbane but may yet come in to the starting XI for under-fire swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus.
"He's a proper bowler," Elgar said of Starc.
"He's done very well in all formats around, especially in the Champions League and T20 cricket.
"He seems to have a lot of ability, he swings it up front, he swings it late.
"It will be interesting to see, I think the Aussie side has just as many selection issues as us."
He may not have been directly involved in the first Test but Elgar, who captained South Africa at the 2006 Under 19 World Cup, conceded the camp believed it was a case of missed opportunity.
Having scored 450 in their first innings, the Proteas then reduced the hosts to 3-40 but were unable to press their advantage further as Michael Clarke made an unbeaten 259 and Ed Cowan and Mike Hussey made centuries.
And now Elgar is expecting a fierce battle in the second Test as Australia look to unseat the world's No.1 Test team.
First Posted 16 November, 2012 6:52PM AEST