Dean Elgar returned an unbeaten 135 off 217 balls to keep the South Africa A ship afloat on Day 2 of the first four-day Test against Australia A in Pretoria on Thursday.
Australia declared on 474 an hour before lunch, allowing Glenn Maxwell to reach his 150 and finish with a striking 155 from 186 balls. Wickets were not forthcoming for the South African bowlers, who did not manage claim a single scalp from the morning session.
It was a concentrated effort by Elgar, who batted the day through while watching four wickets fall in the process. He shared a promising 97-run opening stand with Reeza Hendricks (47) before the latter was trapped lbw by Josh Hazelwood in the 26th over. Stiaan van Zyl (8) and Rilee Rossouw (0) lost their wickets thanks to brilliant consecutive deliveries from leg-spinner, Fawad Ahmed, who narrowly missed out on a hat-trick thanks to a ball that fell just short of short leg.
South African skipper, Justin Ontong joined Elgar when the side were 128/3. The pair shared a vital 103-run fourth-wicket stand to steer the hosts back on course before Ontong had his stumps disturbed by Moises Henriques on 60. The hosts were 276/4 at stumps with Vaughn van Jaarsveld on 12*.
Elgar is happy to have made the contribution that kept his side in a fighting position; “It was a crucial day for us in the sense that the batsmen had to really apply their skills. We got some good starts but then wickets would fall, meaning a rebuilding of the innings. I really enjoyed batting with Onters (Ontong), he scored freely and allowed me to bat the way I wanted to and we complemented each other well. I’m glad to have been able to apply my skills and keep the side in the running today,” Elgar said.
He plans to stick it out once more on Day 3 to give South Africa a fighting chance; “If we want to be in any good position to save this match, we’ll have to bat it out tomorrow. I know everyone will come in fresh but we’ll have to really buckle down and make sure we stick to the plan,” he concluded.