Dean Elgar bemoans Proteas batting collapse
JOHANNESBURG – Dean Elgar felt South Africa posted a “sub-par” first innings total particularly in light of his excellent second wicket partnership with Rassie van der Dussen.
The pair shared a stand of 184 runs, a new record for that wicket at the Wanderers, as South Africa reached 218/1 after the first hour of play. From there however the innings collapsed into an ugly heap as South Africa lost their remaining nine wickets for only 84 runs. “Yup, it was probably a sub-par total after that very good partnership,” Elgar remarked.
He’d made 127, his 13th Test century, but his wicket - having pushed hard at a ball just outside his off-stump, which flew to first slip - rapidly changed the course of the day and kept Sri Lankan hopes alive.
Elgar explained that there would be plenty of lessons for the South African batsmen to learn from what has become a bad habit, of losing wickets in clumps. “Look in South Africa you have to acknowledge the nature of the pitches, it’s quite hard to bat here,” he said.
“There’s a lot of seam movement and some good bounce, which you expect here at the Wanderers. But perhaps we were guilty of not being more disciplined and sticking to our game plans for longer.”
“It’s important on these types of pitches to have batters in, because it’s very difficult for the new guys coming in and losing me an Rassie so quickly, obviously the momentum shifted.”
Vishwa Fernando picked up 5/101 to lead a fine fightback from the visitors. “You have to give them credit,” said Elgar, “they put a lot of good balls in the right area, just on off stump, and also the ‘fourth stump’ line. They were very disciplined.”
Fernando, said there was nothing special about the bowling strategy. “We just wanted to keep it simple...cut down the runs, bowl good areas because there was a lot of assistance in the pitch.”
South Africa, with a 145-run first innings lead, weren’t as disciplined when they bowled at Sri Lanka a second time. Lots of balls flew passed the outside edge, but the home team’s young bowlers seemed to be searching too hard, when consistency is what matters.
Lungi Ngidi picked up three wickets to halt the momentum that Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne had provided for the tourists with their 85-run second wicket stand. “I don’t think we exploited the conditions as well as we could have,” said Elgar. “We should have taken a page from the Sri Lankan bowlers...you to put the ball in the right areas on a consistent basis.”
Sri Lanka lead by five runs heading into the third day.