Dean Elgar’s school of batsmanship on Wednesday was completely out of character but the stodgy left-hander is more intent on bidding adieu to international cricket with a bang than trying to prove a point to anyone. Elgar’s unbeaten 140, laced with 23 boundaries, has put South Africa in a commanding position against India on the second day but the man, playing his penultimate Test, felt it was all about enjoying a day that belonged to him.
“I don’t think I wanted to prove any point. Just that I wanted to go out with a bang as that is standard I set for myself as there’s no looking back now,” Elgar said about his 14th hundred.
Elgar assessed that the track had become better for batting as there was no sunshine, which would have resulted in cracks on the surface but it held firm.
“It was quite a good wicket to bat on. Had there been more sun, it would have been tougher. It’s just that it’s been my way. Could have been another batter another day.” Normally known for his defensive dogged approach, Elgar wanted to look to score runs.
“Your mindset has to be looking to score but also defend and leave balls. There’s one ball with your name on it jags back. When you look to score, you are in better position to make good decisions, capitalised on balls that are over pitched.” He was all praise for debutant David Bedingham, a veteran in first class cricket at 29 and someone who plays county on tough Durham track.
“You think he is youngster. He has lot of experience at first-class cricket and lot of experience in county for Durham. He has experience of playing long form. He took to Test very well,” Elgar said of Bedingham.
So what was his advice to youngsters Tony de Zorzi (with whom he shared 93 runs for the second wicket) and Bedingham (133 for fourth wicket), Elgar said: “You need to be consistent and simplify your gameplan and still look to score.
“Pretty straight forward message and get through two bowlers (Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah) and capitalise on balls that can be scored of.” A century at Centurion for the local boy was one in the bucket list and exalted celebration was a manifestation of that.
“It was special day as I don’t have a Test hundred in Centurion. My family and friends were here knowing it is my last international fixture here (at this ground). Obviously, it was a show of appreciation to them,” Elgar said.
So has the reality sunk in that after this, there’s only one more game left? “At this moment, focus is on putting the team in strong position. May be closer to when Cape Town Test is finished, reality will sink in,” Elgar said.
“May be I will have a drink and look back and think. But right now, it’s all showing the youngsters what standard they have to follow.”
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