Dean Elgar’s brave unbroken 96-run innings inspired South Africa to a seven-wicket win against India in the second Test at the Wanderers on Thursday.
Elgar survived a tough Indian assault and body blows from balls that struck him on a tricky surface to provide a match-winning effort as he led a successful 240-run chase, concluding with a boundary.
South Africa scored 243-3 at the close of a rain-affected fourth day to tie the series after India’s 113-run victory in the first test in Pretoria, with the decisive match set to begin on Tuesday in Cape Town.
The home team was 118-2 overnight but had to wait until Thursday’s first two sessions were rained out.
Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen continued their run chase at 3.45 pm local time (1345 GMT) under gloomy skies, with the match still hanging in the balance due to the pitch’s predicted advantage for India’s powerful assault.
However, the two batsmen maintained their partnership and scored 57 more runs in the first hour of play as they took on the visitors’ bowling until Van der Dussen edged Mohammed Shami to first slip for 40.
South Africa needed 65 runs to win when the wicket fell and might have rapidly spiraled into trouble had Shardul Thakur held onto a catch when new batter Temba Bavuma smacked the first ball he faced straight back at the bowler.
Thakur was unable to defend a stinging shot, and Bavuma capitalized on his good fortune to finish 23 not out.
Elgar, on the other hand, was the hero, displaying a tenacious battling spirit and leading by example to earn a vital and morale-boosting victory for his youthful squad. He faced 188 balls and smashed ten boundaries on route to a century.
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“I’d like to think that the knocks just gave me added motivation,” he said.
“The bigger picture is to win and I wanted to show our young group that sometimes taking the blows can be worth it.”
“I felt we could have scored 60 or so more runs in the first innings and given ourselves a bit of a lead. That’s really where we let the game slip,” added India’s stand-in skipper KL Rahul.
South Africa defeated India for the first match at the Wanderers, maintaining their chances of depriving the world’s top-ranked team of a first-ever series win in South Africa.