Cape Town - Former Proteas skipper Graeme Smith says that opening batsman Dean Elgar should be proud of the way he stood up for his country at The Oval.
Elgar became the first South African centurion of the series, making 136 off 228 balls in the second innings of the third Test.
The Proteas went on to lose the Test by 239 runs and trail the series 2-1 with the fourth and final Test at Old Trafford, starting on Friday.
In the process, Elgar also became cricket's leading run scorer in Test cricket this calendar year with 762 runs at an average of 50.80.
Smith, who is commentating on the England series, says that he was impressed by the fighting spirit shown by Elgar in the middle, while his team-mates struggled with the bat.
"A theme of the series has been the side batting second crumbling under scoreboard pressure, a trend South Africa failed to break here," wrote Smith in his Independent column.
"However, amid the obvious failings was yet another gem from South Africa's most consistent performer, Dean Elgar.
"He's a battler and a fighter, and despite admitting to feeling out of sorts technically he's looked increasingly assured at the crease," said Smith.
"Saving the game always looked a step too far, but he can be proud of how he stood up for his country...
"Good Test batsmen find a way to score runs, even when the fluidity and fluency has seemingly been drained from them. What we saw from Dean in his superb rear guard in the fourth innings was what can happen when you fight through those periods."
Meanwhile, Smith voiced his concern over Elgar's struggling opening partner, Heino Kuhn, saying that finding a solid and reliable opener needs to be a "priority" for the Proteas.
The final Test gets underway in Manchester on Friday (12:00 SA time).
Read Graeme Smith's full Independent column