South Africa's Dean Elgar raises his bat after scoring a century during the third day of the first cricket test match against India in Visakhapatnam, India. Photo: AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A

CAPE TOWN – Proteas centurion Dean Elgar praised his stint at Surrey in the English County Championship for his improved ability to counter high-quality spin.

Elgar struck a marvelous 160 (287 balls) and forged two brilliant partnerships of 115 with captain Faf du Plessis (55) and 164 with fellow centurion Quinton de Kock (111) that formed the bedrock of South Africa's recovery to 385/8 at stumps on day three.

Although the visitors still trail by 117 runs with just two wickets remaining, it was a huge improvement from starting the day at 39/3.

The left-handed opener was particularly impressive against the much-vaunted Indian spinners, using his feet to get to the pitch of the ball with good effect while also hauling out the sweep shot.

The partnership with Du Plessis certainly changed the momentum of South Africa's innings, with both players scoring freely during the partnership.

“It's good to contribute once again. Playing in India is very tough. The last time I was here, I was not very experienced. In those four years, I have grown a lot as a cricketer,” Elgar said at the close of play.

“I have played county cricket, which has helped. (Change into his game) If you want to use our last series in India, we shouldn't use that because of the wickets. You need to defend well against spinners, because then you give yourself the best chance of attacking. County cricket with Surrey has helped a lot.

“Playing spin is something I have been conscious of, and you will face a lot of spin when coming to India. (Hitting the ball in the air) I think you have to find your strengths. That's a strength of mine, and thankfully it worked out in this game. Implementing those, and obviously on this wicket, which has played well.”

Dean Elgar plays a shot during the third day of the first cricket test match against India in Visakhapatnam on Friday. Photo: AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.

Although Du Plessis perished to Ashwin's off-spinners, the visitors did not lose momentum. In fact, the scoring rate actually increased as Elgar and De Kock took the Proteas past the all-important follow-on target of 302.

De Kock, who was in good form during the T20 series, continued his clean striking here in the longer format and rapidly moved to his own century, also bringing it up with six just like Elgar had done earlier in the day.

“I am extremely happy for Quinny. He's a bit of a genius in the way he goes about it. It's not a surprise he's got a 100 here. I think this is the start of a great career for Quinny,” Elgar enthused.

Although the Proteas lost De Kock and Philander shortly before the close, the visitors would still be well pleased with the way the batsmen have hauled them back into the contest with two days remaining in this Test.

@ZaahierAdams

 

IOL Sport

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