Elgar strikes ton in South Africa’s fightback


Visakhapatnam: Dean Elgar became the first South African to score a Test hundred in India since 2010 as the opener led visitors’ valiant fightback on day three of the series-opener, here on Friday.

After resuming the day at 39 for three, South Africa took tea at 292 for five to frustrate the Indian bowlers, who could manage only two wickets in 67 overs bowled today.

Elgar (133 not out) and Faf du Plessis (55) shared 115 runs for the fifth wicket before Quinton de Kock (69) joined the centurion in the middle.

Du Plessis’ was the only to wicket to fall in the extended afternoon session when Ravichandran Ashwin had the South African captain caught at leg gully against the run of play.

The pitch did not appear to have any demon in it but nonetheless it was a remarkable recovery from South Africa considering they were reeling at 39 for three at stumps on day two. The

The visitors made 153 runs in the session lasting 37 overs but still trail India by 210 runs.

Elgar showed exemplary skills while batting in testing sub-continental conditions to score his 12 Test hundred. He is first South African to score a Test ton in India since Hashim Amla’s feat in 2010,

Indian spinners posed the biggest threat going into day three and he tackled them by mixing caution with aggression.

He took the aerial route at the slightest opportunity to release pressure, smashing four sixes to go with 14 boundaries. Elgar got to the three figures in style, dispatching Ashwin for a spectacular six over the cow corner.

After du Plessis’ dismissal in the 58th over, de Kock joined Elgar in taking the attack to the spinners.

The wicketkeeper batsman batted in limited overs mode, collecting 11 fours and a six. Running out of options, India also tried part-time spinners Hanuma Vihari and Rohit Sharma but to little effect.

Earlier, Elgar and du Plessis resisted the Indian attack with an unbeaten 90-run partnership which took South Africa to 153 for four at lunch.

Considering what transpired in the final session on Thursday, South Africa were expected to surrender rather quickly but Elgar and Du Plessis played with positive intent against the Indian spinners.

While Ashwin and Jadeja got more purchase out of the surface than the South Africa spinners, the pitch did not appear to have demons in it. The odd ball, though, did jump off the wicket.

Ashwin, who looked menacing in the final session on Thursday, could not get a wicket in the morning. Both Elgar and Du Plessis were not afraid to use their feet against Ashwin, playing some lofted shots.

Elgar made his intentions clear early on by going for the loft over mid-on even though it was a mishit for four. He grew in confidence from there on and was successful in executing the aerial hits and shots through the ground.

Elgar, who liked all South African batsmen had a forgettable tour of India four year ago, brought his 14th Test fifty with a single in the 40th over. A little later, the southpaw smashed Jadeja for two sixes and a four in the same over.

The luck was also on his side when he was on 74 as Saha dropped a sharp catch off Jadeja.

At the other end, Du Plessis too looked comfortable ever since he charged down the ground to Ashwin for the first six of his innings.

Pacer Ishant Sharma picked up the sole wicket to fall in the session when he got one to jag back in sharply and trap Temba Bavuma (18) in front of the stumps.

On the second ball of the day, Bavuma had gone for a lazy drive off a full ball from Ishant but since there was no second slip, the edge flew for four. (PTI)