Cape Town - Proteas opening batsman Dean Elgar says his ton against New Zealand was one of his toughest Test knocks he has played.
Elgar struck one of his finest knocks to steer the Proteas out of trouble on day one of the first Test against New Zealand in Dunedin on Wednesday.
He witnessed an early collapse from the Proteas top-order, as South African-born Neil Wagner took two with the tourists in trouble at 22/3.
"It's unfortunate to see guys go out around you, I know it's never their plan intentionally, but fortune was on my side today," Elgar told reporters in Dunedin on Wednesday.
However, Elgar - along with skipper Faf du Plessis (52) - steadied the Proteas ship with a fourth wicket stand of 126, as they ended the first day on 229/4.
Elgar, who was dropped by BJ Watling on 36, held his nerve and struck his seventh Test century to stay unbeaten on 128 (262 balls, 22 fours).
"I'm glad to have contributed in a good way and hopefully I can push on tomorrow," said Elgar.
"It was hard out there, it was one of the toughest days of Test cricket so far in my career.
"It was one of those situations where you had to fight it out and not think about yourself for once. You have to think about the bigger picture and that's the team and what the team needed in that moment.
"It's always a scrap out there, I'm not very talented and free-scoring like the other guys, so you got to use your advantages. My ability to is to try and guts it out and grind it."
Wagner, who once played provincial cricket with Elgar, led the Black Caps bowling attack and took the wickets of Hashim Amla (1) and JP Duminy (1).
Elgar heaped praise on the hosts' bowling attack, saying their discipline was good, but the Proteas are in a formidable position heading into day two.
"Their bowlers are quality - (Trent) Boult, (Neil) Wagner and Jeetan (Patel)," said Elgar.
"We knew giving it another half an hour things will settle down and we could open up on scoring. But they bowled pretty well on a wicket that hasn't really assisted them too much, but there discipline is good."
"I think we are in a really good position, only four down on a wicket that seems like with a newer ball anything can happen. Even if our scoring was slow, I think the nature of play in Dunedin is generally slow so you just have to understand it."
Elgar (128*) and Temba Bavuma (37*) will resume for the Proteas on day two of the first Test in Dunedin. (00:00 SA time)