Cape Town – Dean Elgar
was soldiering on at Newlands on day one of the third Test against Australia as
he survived a brutal spell of fast bowling from Mitchell Starc.
Elgar was his usual unmoveable self as the Aussie quick grew
At tea, Elgar’s 91* (165b,
17x4, 1x6) had helped the Proteas to 185/2.
LIVE: Proteas v Australia - 3rd Test, Day 1
They were welcome runs for Elgar, who had struggled in the
series so far and in 2018 in general.
At the other end, AB de
Villiers was fluent for his 46*.
Together, that pair swung things back South Africa’s way after
Hashim Amla had departed for 31 shortly after lunch.
Amla had looked in good touch, as he so often does, and he had
put on 86 valuable runs with Elgar for the second wicket after the hosts had
lost Aiden Markram for 0 in just the fourth over of the day.
It was a false stroke that brought about the 34-year-old’s
demise, though, when he went on the hook against Josh Hazlewood (2/23) only to
find Pat Cummins on the fine leg fence.
Elgar got better the longer he batted, handling Nathan Lyon with
ease after acknowledging in the week that he had struggled against the
Australian off-spinner in the series so far.
In the process, Elgar became just the 15th South
African in the history of Test cricket to notch up 3 000 runs in the format.
He did survive a scary moment on 53* when he was dropped at
point by Lyon off Hazlewood. It was a relatively routine chance for Lyon, who
made a mess of a dive to his right.
De Villiers also survived one or two nervy moments as he edged
through a vacant third slip, but his naturally positive approach got the
scoreboard moving along nicely.
Elgar and De Villiers brought up their 50-run partnership off
just 70 balls as the momentum shifted firmly back in favour of the Proteas.
De Villiers had faced 69 balls for his 46*, carving seven
boundaries along the way.
A wicket quickly after tea has become crucial for the visitors
now, because if De Villiers keeps batting at this rate he will take the game
away from them quickly.
By tea, Elgar and De Villiers' stand for the third wicket was 93*.
Elgar survived another chance in the second-last over before the end of session when he flashed at Mitchell Marsh and edged just wide of a diving Steve Smith for four.