Cape Town - Dean Elgar came pretty close on Thursday to emulating
a prior, legendary part-time performance by a visiting left-arm spinner in
There were shades of Australia’s Michael Clarke - like
Elgar, much more renowned for his exploits at the crease - in the way the
Proteas player unexpectedly mesmerised the host nation on day one of the first
Test in Mohali.
It was some 11 years earlier that a then-rookie Clarke
earned the jaw-dropping analysis of six for nine in only 6.2 eventful overs at
Not too surprisingly, they instantly became his best single-innings
haul in any first-class cricket - and remained that way until the day he
retired after 115 largely distinguished Tests, a little earlier this year.
On the latest occasion, Elgar ended the sub-standard Indian
first innings of 201, after the home side had won what seemed a priceless toss,
with the leading individual South African analysis of 8-1-22-4.
The figures were not quite as striking on paper as Clarke’s
back in 2004, but remember that “Pup” earned his carnage in a second innings,
when conditions tend to be rather more favourable for spinners, and also in a
dead-rubber encounter: India eventually won the final Test by 13 runs but were
already 0-2 down ahead of it.
This, by contrast, was the very first knock of the opening
clash of a series, so the diminutive Elgar will be tickled pink with his
Also, whereas Clarke did the vast majority of his damage in
the lower order, on Thursday Elgar ripped out three of the Indian top six.
Like Clarke, these currently stand as his leading first-class
figures, as the 4/22 narrowly eclipses his only previous four-wicket haul (4/25)
in domestic combat.
Clarke’s career first-class bowling average was 44.90,
serving only to remind of his part-time status on that front, whilst Elgar’s
was a touch above 50 heading into this Test match.
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