South Africa’s Dean Elgar appeals successfully for the wicket of Australia’s Steve Smith during the first Test at Kingsmead on Saturday. Photo: Reuters
On a day of slim pickings for South African fans, the legend that is Dean Elgar continued to grow and grow amongst the public  and in the press box. The stories around his ability  and enthusiasm  for pain already know no end, but Elgar added another chapter to his book of deeds in Durban yesterday.

Elgar started with the heroics after lunch, when he snared the wicket of Steve Smith with just his fourth ball delivered. "Pitched leg, turning, smashing ‘em" the Aussie skipper’s urgent review confirmed.

It wasn’t the first time that he had got the best Test batsman in the world, though Elgar would never stoop and suggest use of the word ‘bunny’. Rabbits don’t belong on a cricket field, after all.

And yet, Welkom’s finest export has assembled quite the roll of honour on his international scalp list; Alex Hales, Nick Compton, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Tamim Iqbal, Misbah ul-Haq and, of course, Smith on two occasions.The golden arm of Elgar, known from Mohali to Derbyshire, had struck again.

"He doesn’t bowl enough," pointed one soul who had spent too much time in the sun.

Durban is strong on stating the glaring, but even Captain Obvious couldn’t have called Elgar’s real heroism later in the day. As he plucked a Mitchell Starc drive headed towards the West Stand fence, Elgar dislocated his right little finger  the pinky, if you must.

Disappeared

He calmly rolled the ball back to the umpire, gave his nearest teammate a high-four, and then disappeared up the steps back to the sheds.

“Have they declared,” pondered a portly gent in the press box?

“Maybe he is going to men’s,” another chanced.

There were also suggestions that he had suddenly had a hunch about the Bulls, and was urgently going to attend to his Superbru picks, before kick-off at Loftus. Once a Pretorian, always a Bull, and all that

Wrong, wrong and wrong. Elgar, whose propensity for pain has gone beyond even the likes of Schalk Burger and Steve "Where’s my nose?" Bruce in sporting parlance, had dashed off the field to address his disobedient little finger.

Sources close to sources say he didn’t even need a helping hand in locating the pinky back in place, because he has been down this road before.

Elgar will return for duty on the fourth day, and his ability to bat is in no question. South Africa will need him to do one of his epic stick-ability jobs, if they are to have any hopes of salvaging the Test.

More is the pity that Durbanites have stayed away from the Test, even on the weekend. Such lack of patriotism is punishable by non-action in some countries, and the next Boxing Day Test may well find its way to a heaving Centurion, rather than a ghostly Kingsmead.

And there, in Bull country, the legend of Elgar will be treated with the reverence it deserves. Up there, they even dare to say that Chuck Norris wears Dean pyjamas.


Sunday Tribune

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