Dean Elgar says great execution from Australia’s bowling attack sparked the Proteas’ batting collapse on day one at Newlands.
Elgar’s heroics were followed by a dismal middle-order performance. Other than AB de Villiers’ 64, the Proteas batsmen crumbled around Elgar.
After De Villiers’ loose shot sent him packing for Cummins’ first scalp, just nine runs were added by Faf du Plessis (five), Temba Bavuma (one) and Quinton de Kock (three).
Every wicket was due to a soft dismissal as the Proteas lost six wickets for 37 runs. The Proteas went from 220-2 to 266-8 by the end of the day’s play.
Elgar, however, said that his team’s collapse after tea was due to the quality of Australia’s bowling.
‘It was quality bowling and good plans that they had,’ said Elgar about the collapse, ‘As a player, you want to be positive and sometimes that causes the downfall.
‘That’s the nature of Test cricket for you. For four hours a team can be dominant and the other two hours, another team can bounce back and also be in a dominant position.
‘The ball was tailing and being a new batsman with not a lot of runs behind your name can be tough.
‘They executed their plans to a tee, especially after tea. They were better than us in that session and ultimately we have to accept that.’
Subsequently, the Proteas ended on 266-8 when bad light ended play, but Elgar hid his frustration for his teammates who spoilt the hard work he put in to score his 11th ton.
‘It’s not frustration, I know the players in the side. They work their backsides off to contribute and do well for the side, ‘ said Elgar, ‘There are no emotions attached to it and I am well aware of the difficulties of this format.
‘When you’re facing three top-class seamers and Mitch Marsh – who does a great job – and they have a quality spinner, you are always up against it. Certain moments in Test cricket can set you up for a few good days.’
Pat Cummins’ 4-64 was crucial in turning the game in Australia’s favour and he explained what Elgar did differently to his fellow batters.
‘Dean batted really well today. He left really well early and especially in the middle session, he looked like he had good intent against the loose ball and was driving well today. He had a solid game plan,’ said Cummins.
‘We will have a look at that. It wasn’t spinning so much as it did in the previous Tests, but the way Nathan [Lyon] kept him dry was a great effort. For us quicks, we will have a think about that, but he batted well.’
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