TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
DEAN Elgar is getting married on Tuesday morning. At least, he is according to a cryptic campaign on social media that claims that he will wed Newlands’ Railway Stand.
Bizarre? Elgar thought so, too.
“Well, it’s going to be quite exciting then, I guess,” a bemused Elgar said after stumps on the first day of the second test against Sri Lanka on Monday.
“I don’t know what to make of this, I don’t think my missus is going to be very pleased with this.
“I have no idea what’s going on.
“Stay tuned, I guess.”
Elgar spoke after holding South Africa’s first innings together with a doughty 129 even as Sri Lanka’s bowlers sent the ball veering this way and that in seaming, swinging conditions.
He batted for six hours to ensure the home side reached the close handily placed on 297/6, and that despite them being put into bat and slumping to 66/3 before lunch.
Little wonder, perhaps, that the marriage proposals are streaming in.
Like any serious union Elgar’s relationship with the pitch had its ups and downs.
“It was tough but we knew that if we get through the first hour, once that new ball becomes a little bit older it’s going to give us a few more run-scoring opportunities,” he said.
Elgar expected the Lankans to face similar challenges when they face South Africa’s pace attack of Vernon Philander, Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada.
“It’s definitely a new-ball wicket and I think it’s going to have that nature throughout the game,” he said.
“We saw when (Sri Lanka) took the second new ball there was still a lot of seam movement, and I think there’s going to be a lot throughout this game.
“It’s a good cricket wicket in the sense that it’s assisting everyone – there’s a good competition between bat and ball.”
The conditions should suit Philander and Abbott particularly well.
“I’m glad they’re in my side and not playing against me; they’re bowling very well together,” Elgar said.
“It’s a wicket that’s going to bring out the best in both of them.”
He did not feel the well-grassed, bright green pitch had tipped the balance too far in favour of South Africa’s pace-powered attack.
“We’ve been bitten in the past going to places like India, where we’ve played in the desert and the challenge between bat and ball is not realistic,” Elgar said.
“But this is a good cricket wicket. If you apply yourself with the ball you’re going to have success and if you apply yourself with the bat you’re also going to have success, as we saw in PE (where South Africa won the first test by 206 runs on Friday).
“Which is good for cricket. This is not unfair – it’s not to our advantage or to their disadvantage.
“People want to see runs the whole time but for the longevity of test cricket this is what we need more.”
Elgar conceded that the pitch sported more grass than in the past: “This is my fourth test here and it’s definitely the most.
“Last year (against England) we had totally the opposite: it looked like they put the namesake into the wicket – PPC (Cement).
“This year there’s a lot more grass and it’s expected playing against a sub-continent team.
“We don’t want to make it comfortable for them.
“That would just be stupid of us.”
Elgar has scored his previous two centuries, against England and Australia, in the first match of the series and then gone off the boil.
“I’ve tended to get a hundred early in the series and then I don’t get on – I get these stupid 20s and 30s and 40s,” he said.
“I was going too hard at the ball. Hence I was sitting watching the game and not playing the game.
“It was part of that mental switch I had to go through.
“It was frustrating in previous series and games, which was bloody pissing me off.”
So he did something about the problem …
“I had to go back to the drawingboard and simplify my game. I did that with some chats with the Titans coach (Mark Boucher) and some input from guys who aren’t in our squad.
“It’s good to have guys like Neil ‘Mac’ (McKenzie, South Africa’s batting consultant) around.
“He shared very similar info to what I heard.”
But not that Elgar was getting married in the morning.