SA's Dean Elgar batted for more than three hours on Friday, scoring 50, in some of the toughest conditions he’s encountered. Photo: Cricket SA

JOHANNESBURG – Dean Elgar shook his head and smiled ruefully as his captain explained why the Proteas were happy to play on pitches that favoured fast bowlers. 

On his right elbow, Elgar wore strapping after a copping a blow from medium pacer Shan Masood, on his left fore-arm he sported two bruises, one from each innings. 

“I know the guys in the change-room appreciate what I do, and that makes it heal a bit easier,” he said.

Elgar batted for more than three hours on Friday, scoring 50, in some of the toughest conditions he’s encountered against an excellent attack as South Africa successfully chased a tricky target of 149 to win the first Test by six wickets at SuperSport Park.

“It was a really tough wicket and Pakistan have brought some really good bowlers here and with the nature of these wickets they are definitely using the conditions to their full advantage.”

“I can definitely say that South Africa is the toughest place in the world to bat,” said Elgar. Which is exactly how Faf du Plessis wants it, especially when teams from the sub-continent tour here. 

“We’ve got the best bowling attack statistically in the world and it would be stupid not to make use of that. So if that means it makes life a little bit tougher for us as batters long as we are winning Tests matches, I will definitely smile about it,” said the Proteas captain.

Du Plessis said it was unfair to rate the batsmen’s form given the difficulties of playing on a bouncing, seaming surface in Centurion, against a classy Pakistan attack. “ That first hour for me (on the third day) was a great example; that’s as hard as Test cricket will get wherever you play in the world, whether it’s spinning in the sub-continent or seaming around in the UK, that’s as tough as it will get.”

“It is tough to rate a batting unit on a wicket like that because it’s like there’s a ball that has your number.”

On home soil at least, Elgar, Du Plessis are happy to sacrifice egos, averages and take a bit of pain if it helps the Proteas win. 

“When you get through the tough times, you appreciate the innings more, the beer tastes a lot better afterwards,” said Elgar.  


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