Dean Elgar says his ability to absorb pressure allowed Faf du Plessis to play with freedom as the Proteas built a 611-run lead on day four of the final Test against Australia at the Wanderers.
Elgar was South Africa’s unsung hero on Monday. Despite losing his opening partner Aiden Markam, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers in quick succession, Elgar continued to battle away.
His effort was key to Du Plessis’ eighth Test ton, of which he was in desperate need, having had a woeful series until then — with a highest score of 20 in seven innings.
The captain required a stable partner at the other end and Elgar performed the role perfectly.
‘With so much time left in the game, I knew it was ultimately my job to anchor the innings and try to put up a sustainable lead,’ said Elgar. ‘We were in a fortunate position, which doesn’t really happen often in Test cricket. We needed someone to actually drive the advantage home by spending time at the crease.
‘It comes down to nailing the basics of batting and trying to be hungry out there. We needed a lot of discipline with regards to defence.
‘The wicket is not easy, even though Faf made it look that way. That’s the nature of cricket, some guy has it on his side and the other guy has to bite the bullet.’
The Proteas kept piling on the runs before declaring on 344-6.
Elgar faced 180 dot balls and a total of 199 balls for his half-century, which saw him end on 81 off 250 deliveries.
‘I had to absorb a lot of the balls and pressure yesterday evening and be able to set it up for a guy like Faf to come in and play with a little bit of ease,’ he said. ‘He received quite a lot of soft balls, which he was able to put away, and it was all a combination of what happened yesterday evening.’
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