Dean Elgar understands the arduous task of batting in India. While many of his team-mates have surrendered without a fight to the mighty Indian bowling, the South African has one gutsy century to show for in the ongoing three-match Test series.
"I would like to think this might be my best hundred ever,” Elgar had confessed after his fighting 160 in the first innings of the first Test in Visakhapatnam. The Indians have squeezed the visitors with their near-perfect show with the ball. With one more Test to go, the Proteas are under pressure to fight for pride after handing India an unassailable 2-0 lead. Irrespective of the outcome from the third game beginning here from Saturday, Elgar will return home mentally tougher.
“India is one country that is street smart and clever with the touring teams. The Indians push your boundaries and test you. It’s always a good learning curve coming here. You get stretched as a person and as a cricketer. You get to know yourself a lot. You are challenged on the field every single day,” the opener explained.
India, at home, have left many Test teams with a low morale in the recent past. The crushing defeats can break players mentally and trigger self-doubts. Elgar wouldn’t have forgotten the scars of the 2015 tour, where he struggled against the spinners and managed a mere 137 from four games in South Africa’s crushing 0-4 defeat. The 32-year-old left-hander stressed on the importance of staying positive.
“It’s no secret that this has been a challenging tour for us. We haven’t played our best cricket. We are trying to stay positive. The senior guys are keeping the juniors motivated. It has been a tough few weeks for us,” he offered.
The series scoreline and the manner in which India has dominated has reduced the interest level for the third Test. However, the 32-year-old southpaw felt the World Test Championship has given significance to inconsequential ties.
“Back in the days, there was always a dead rubber game. But now there is the World Championship. We still have points to play for. We can still get 40 points and that will be in our mind going into the third Test. We can make something out of the campaign by getting those 40 points,” Elgar noted.
Elgar knows the job though will be easier said than done for South Africa, especially after their meek batting effort in the second Test that saw them crumble to 189 in the second innings in Pune and suffer an innings and 137-run defeat.
“Hopefully we score lot of runs in the third game (laughs). I think in the second Test, we forgot the basics points that we did in the first Test, as far as our batting is concerned. India knows how to stretch you and they were the better side. We neglected the basics in our batting and that’s not acceptable. Hopefully we can be better in the third Test,” he said.