Elgar edges out Rahul’s ton, steers SA into lead with his 14th Test century

Centurion, Dec 27 (UNI) Dean Elgar edged out KL Rahul’s gritty century by smashing his 14th Test ton to help South Africa take a crucial 11-run lead over India at stumps on Day 2 of the first Test at the SuperSport Park here on Wednesday.

Elgar, who is playing his penultimate Test match before hanging boots from international cricket, was batting on 140 when South Africa were 256/5 before the day’s play ended abruptly due to bad light. Marco Jansen was giving the acting captain company with his score of 3.

Elgar stitched a crucial 131 runs partnership for the fourth wicket along with David Bedingham who belted his first fifty on Test debut and became the 20th Protea to accomplish the feat. He was cleaned up by Mohammed Siraj for 56 off 87 balls with 7 boundaries and 2 sixes.

By then, a bulk of damage had been wrought. Prasidh Krishna, who is also making his Test debut for India, scalped his first Test wicket of keeper-batsman Kyle Verreynne for 4.

Marco Jansen joined Elgar in the middle as bad light halted the day’s play.

Rahul, who resumed at his overnight score of 70, completed his second Test century at the Centurion to help India post a respectable 245 all out in the first innings. The wicketkeeper-batsman scored 101 off 137 balls with 14 boundaries and 4 sixes.

Rahul got to his 8th Test hundred in a magnificent style by hammering pacer Gerald Coetzee for a six, before being cleaned up by Nandre Burger in the next over.

Interestingly, Rahul had scored a century at Centurion during the last visit to the Rainbow Nation. He hit 123 runs to guide India to the win in their Boxing Day Test against South Africa in 2021.

Surprisingly, the pitch eased out in the post-lunch session, helping South African batsmen go after Indian bowlers. Though the ball was nipping around and moving a bit in the air, Elgar and Bedingham made shot-making look easy.

Elgar divorced himself from his traditional batsmanship and smacked a flurry of drives and pulls to get the scoreboard ticking quickly.

After Elgar and Tony de Zorzi put on a 93-run stand for the second wicket, Jasprit Bumrah snuffed out the sting of South Africa with a double jolt in his return spell. The star India pacer forced De Zorzi to edge one to the slips while defending a shortish ball, and the next over cleaned up Keegan Petersen chopping onto his stumps, reducing the hosts to 113/3.

India had a very good chance to add further wickets, but Elgar and Bedingham played cautiously.

Once the ball turned old and soft, batting became easy. Neither the short-ball tactics did not work as Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna were taken to the cleaners by Elgar and Bedingham. Elgar brought his 14th Test century by pulling a short ball outside off for a boundary.

India was off to a good start as Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj bowled in right areas, locking up South African openers. Siraj had Aiden Markram edge the ball to Rahul behind the stumps. Elgar and Zorzi put down their heads and helped their side to 49/1 at lunch.

Brief scores: South Africa 265/3 (Dean Elgar 140*, David Bedingham 56; Jasprit Bumrah 2-48, Mohammed Siraj 2-63) lead India 245 (KL Rahul 101, Virat Kohli 38; Kagiso Rabada 5/59, Nandre Burger 3/50) by 11 runs.

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