South Africa’s cricket captain Dean Elgar produced an amazing unbeaten innings of 96 runs to lead the Proteas to a seven-wicket victory over India in the second test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Thursday, levelling the series to 1-1. This was Elgar’s first outing as Test captain, and the first time SA has beaten India at Wanderers.
Former SA cricket captain Graeme Smith commented: “Seen a few (matches) over time, but that is One of SA cricket’s greatest test wins!”
Persistent rain delayed the start of the fourth day of the second Test, that saw the 34-year-old sportsman face tough batting conditions against the elements and his opponents.
As Reuters reports, “Elgar defied a hostile Indian attack and body blows from balls that struck him on a difficult pitch to deliver a match-winning performance as he led a successful 240-run chase, fittingly hitting a boundary to secure the victory.”
South Africa needed to win after India’s victory in Centurion, Pretoria, last week. The Proteas reached 243-3 near the end of a rain-restricted fourth day to level the series.
The deciding match will come in Cape Town, starting on Tuesday.
The home team were 118-2 overnight but had to wait as the first two sessions on Thursday were washed out by rain.
Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen eventually resumed their run chase at 3.45pm local time, under cloudy skies, with the outcome still in the balance as the pitch was expected to favour the formidable India attack.
Ultimately South Africa won, thanks to Elgar, Van Der Dussen, Aiden Markram, Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma who all contributed to the victory.
Elgar was fittingly awarded with the Man of the Match award, the fourth time he’s accomplished this in his Test career. His last Man of the Match was in 2021’s new Year’s Test, also at Wanderers.
This was Elgar’s 19th Test half-century, and his 71st Test.
After the match, Elgar said:
“I don’t know what’s the right or wrong way in winning a cricket match, but it’s all about doing the basics right. We ticked a lot of boxes right to make it 1-1. We now go to Cape Town with plenty of confidence – it wasn’t easy, the batters were determined. but credit to our bowlers, the effort they put in was very impressive. I am yet to see the bruises, but it’s a big motivation to go and play for your country. Whatever I’m going through, it’s important to see the bigger picture and the bigger picture is to win games for your country.”
Cricket SA tweeted: “Captain Dean Elgar’s unbeaten 96 was the mainstay of the #Proteas chase as he showed plenty of fight and grit to get his side over the line and level the #BetwayTestSeries.”
Cricket fans noted that with India being a quality side, this win will mean the world to South African cricket and the new generation of stars emerging.
South Africa now climbs to fifth spot, just below India, in World Test Championship rankings.
Dean Elgar is one tough bastard. It's fitting he's anchoring this run-chase. Since the start of 2018 only one batsman has batted against tougher bowling/conditions according to our xAve model & only two (Pujara & Rahane) have taken more blows on the helmet, body & gloves. #SAvIND pic.twitter.com/TVuGyD8TM7
— Freddie Wilde (@fwildecricket) January 6, 2022
🚨 RESULT | #Proteas WIN BY 7 WICKETS
🇿🇦 Captain Dean Elgar's unbeaten 96 was the mainstay of the #Proteas chase as he showed plenty of fight and grit to get his side over the line and level the #BetwayTestSeries#SAvIND #FreedomTestSeries #BePartOfIt pic.twitter.com/uez5t7RRqZ
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 6, 2022