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Ken Borland

Elgar makes the Wanderers his own erf of batting tenaciousness 0

Posted on January 11, 2021 by Ken

Dean Elgar followed up his 206-minute occupation of SuperSport Park in the first Test by making the Wanderers his own erf of batting tenaciousness, steering South Africa to 148 for one, just nine runs behind Sri Lanka’s total, on the first day of the second Test on Sunday.

With Anrich Nortje taking a career-best six for 56 in 14.3 overs, finishing off the fine work of Wiaan Mulder before lunch, Sri Lanka were bundled out just after 2pm for 157 in only 40.3 overs. Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen then ensured the Proteas made a solid response as they added 114 for the second wicket.

Elgar made it to stumps on 92 not out, having batted for 174 minutes and faced 119 balls, and showed a great ability to adapt his game, absorbing pressure when necessary and changing gears when possible. His first 25 runs came at a run-a-ball, but after tea when Sri Lanka stuck to really disciplined lines and lengths, he showed great patience and resolve. Later in the afternoon, when the shackles were released a bit, the left-hander was able to regain his fluency.

Van der Dussen was even more patient, showing the sort of composure that comes from experience as he took 26 deliveries to get off the mark, but bided his time, sticking to his game plan until the Sri Lankan bowlers backed off. The 31-year-old went to stumps on 40 not out, after 139 minutes and 82 deliveries, having come to the crease in the third over after tea after Aiden Markram (5) was caught in the slips off debutant Asitha Fernando, who took the new ball and produced an impressive first spell in Test cricket.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and elected to bat first under cloudy skies in cool conditions, and opener Kusal Perera’s belligerent 60 off 67 balls took them to 71 for one, before experiencing a dramatic collapse that saw them lose nine wickets for 86 runs.

South Africa’s fast bowlers were having difficulty tying Kusal down and the left-hander bashed 11 fours in his innings as anything approaching full in length was lashed through the covers. But Mulder changed the complexion of the game, finding the perfect length and some away movement as he took three wickets for one run before lunch.

Kusal was caught in the slips as he planted the front foot, reached for a drive and edged the delivery going across him, with Kusal Mendis (0) and Lahiru Thirimanne (17) also being caught in the slips. Mulder also ended with career-best figures of three for 25.

Nortje came to the fore after lunch, Sri Lanka’s lower-order being unable to cope with the combination of high pace and a fuller length as he took five for 35 in the second session.

“Kusal batted really well and if you gave him any width he was immediately on to it, but I’m very happy with the end result. As a unit the bowlers did very well and it was great to improve on the first innings at Centurion. Wiaan did really well, he’s not just bowling dot balls but taking wickets as well, which helps us so much.
“I just tried to be tight, keep it as simple as possible and use the extra bounce. You’re not trying to do miracles and we stuck to what we wanted, which is bowling in the channel after we were a bit wide and maybe both sides of the wicket at Centurion. Today we created lots of opportunities and those bowling partnerships is what we want,” Nortje said.

Only Wanindu Hasaranga (29) and Dushmantha Chameera (22) gave the Proteas much pause for thought as they added 39 for the eighth wicket.

But Monday could be a long second day for Sri Lanka, with batting likely to be easier.

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