Dean Elgar scored a brilliant 127, but his dismissal sparked another Proteas collapse (AFP)
- Dean Elgar would seem blameless for the Proteas’ latest batting collapse, but it was his dismissal that sparked Sri Lanka’s fightback in the second Test at the Wanderers.
- The gritty opener believes the South African batting order might be lacking a bit of conviction at times and that the nasty habit needs to be addressed.
- However, he also stressed that there are mitigating factors such as local conditions’ general better assistance for the bowlers.
A fluent 127 off 166 deliveries largely exonerates from the latest sinning, but Dean Elgar admits that the Proteas batting order will need to investigate a fairly regular habit for collapsing in a heap.
Monday’s second day’s play of the second Test against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers was the latest example as South Africa lost their last nine wickets for a mere 84 runs after Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen had put them in a powerful position with a record 184-run second-wicket stand.
“It’s a fair question,” the influential opener said at the close of play.
“I do believe that the nature of the pitches are a factor. It’s almost like if you’re coming out to bat, you have to be on the right side of momentum.
“We saw it today. The game shifted from us being 218/1 to 241/5 in little to no time. It shows you how important it is to have batters that are in and settled.”
Despite their fine efforts, Elgar and Van der Dussen were – harshly or not – the men that sparked the implosion.
“I went out and Rassie followed quickly thereafter, which wasn’t ideal,” said Elgar.
Yet the onus still rests on the rest of the order to capitalise on decent platforms, who, at least in this match, didn’t play with the utmost conviction.
Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock were undone by hard hands in trying to defend probing fuller deliveries, while Temba Bavuma oddly padded up to a straight delivery.
“Maybe from a mental point of view we just relaxed a bit too much,” said Elgar.
“One has to be a bit more assertive out there, trust your technique more intently and longer. That’s just my outside observation. We’ll definitely address at the conclusion of the series because we’re aware of it. But we also have to take conditions into account.”
Indeed, on a Wanderers surface that has quickened up from the opening day, there are distinct periods of substantial assistance being on offer for the bowlers before fizzling out to make stroke-play easier.
“There were quite a few very good deliveries bowled,” said Elgar.
“You have to give the Sri Lankans credit for the way they used conditions and fought back. Partnerships are important and if you’re able to get past that period where you respect conditions, you can definitely conquer a bit.”