Dean Elgar believes Newlands is a wicket which favours the new ball and it will remain so for the rest of the second Test against Sri Lanka.
The Proteas suffered early on, losing three for 69 before Elgar (129) turned things on in the middle overs.
Elgar had ample time to witness the deterioration of the ball and he sees it as a major factor in this Test.
‘Newlands is definitely a new-ball wicket and it looks like it will stay that way for the remainder of the game,’ he said.
‘It was a little bit tough. But we knew that once the ball got a bit older, it would give a few more run-scoring opportunities. As the game goes on there will be a little more turn in the wicket, which is exciting for us batting first.’
But he believes the Proteas opening pace attack of Kyle Abbott and Vernon Philander will take early advantage of the wicket.
‘Kyle and Vernon will do well with this wicket if they just stick to basics,’ he said. ‘They are bowling well together and this is a wicket that will bring out the best of both of them.’
Elgar formed two crucial partnerships, with Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock, once the ball deteriorated and a 75-run stand with his captain was followed by a century seventh-wicket stand with De Kock.
Elgar praised De Kock’s ability to get on top of bowlers. The 24-year-old scored 68 off 90 balls to help SA reclaim momentum.
‘Quinton is one of those freaks of world cricket,’ he said. ‘I can’t compete with Quinny; he’s a world beater, and as soon as I start trying to compete with him I’m going to fail more times than not.’
On his sixth Test century, Elgar revealed his frustrations with his previous performances and said he had simplified his game-plan.
‘The nature of my last few series has been very frustrating. I tend to get a hundred early on in the series then I don’t kick on; I get these stupid 20s, 30s and 40s which are highly frustrating and not my character.
‘I went back to the drawing board to simplify my game. I had a few chats back home with the Titans coach and some external input from guys who are not in our squad, as well as [Proteas batting coach] Neil McKenzie.
‘I was going too hard at the ball, and that’s why I was spending more time watching the game than playing the game,’ he said.
SA will resume day two on 297-6 with De Kock looking to reach his third Test century.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images