South Africa v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 1st day January 2, 2017

Frustrated Elgar finds satisfaction in the long haul

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'Every Test hundred is up there' - Elgar

"It was bloody really just pissing me off a little bit."

In between mouthfuls of one of the media's post-play pies (which he nicked), Dean Elgar told us what he really thought about reaching a sixth Test century, one match after squandering two good starts in the Port Elizabeth Test.

The thing about Elgar is that he is hard on himself. In his 31st Test, he averages under 40 and he wants to change that. He wants to be more consistent as he continues to establish himself as South Africa's senior opener and he has been consulting widely on how to do that.

"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, which are highly frustrating. I know that's not my character," Elgar said. "I had some chats with the Titans coach and some input from guys who aren't in our squad."

Since returning home from Australia, where Elgar scored a century in Perth and then tapered off, he has chatted to Mark Boucher, who had the same bulldog in him as Elgar does, about how to do more than get one hundred a series. Boucher's answer lay in simplifying his gameplan.

"In the past 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 really just pissing me off a little bit."

So Elgar has gone back to being patient and letting the bowlers be his guide for when he can cash in. He is willing to see out the difficult periods, knowing that this attack have a tendency to try too hard early on and tire later.

"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. We feel that their bowlers maybe go searching more, especially in the early overs, and that gives you a few free hits and boundaries."

Although Elgar's innings seemed to gain fluency as it went on, his second fifty actually took more balls (99) than his first (87). It was Quinton de Kock, not Elgar, who pushed the accelerator on South Africa's effort late in the day but that's one thing that does not bloody really just piss Elgar off.

"Quinny is one of those freaks of world cricket. His nature of play is not going to change very much. He puts bowlers under a lot of pressure. They tend to think they're on top of him but next thing you wipe your eyes and he's got a fifty," Elgar said.

"I can't compete with Quinny. He's a world-beater. The minute I start trying to compete with him is when I'm going to fail, more times than not. He's one of those guys who can really kill the opposition when he gets going."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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  • WaterfallFan on January 2, 2017, 19:50 GMT

    De Kock is wasted at 7. It means he only gets the chance to bat with one other front line batsmen and the. The tail. I think he should bat 5 or 6.

  • ProteaFire786 on January 2, 2017, 18:31 GMT

    Spot on @BCG, Elgar played really well. One of his most fluent innings (didn't scratch around too much and kept his S/R ticking nicely). BUT, and I know its a bit harsh on a guy that scored a 100, we need our boys to score the daddy hundreds to kill off the opposition. Its probably why he's not averaging 40+/ Btw, I remained sceptical but the openers are certainly cementing their positions. Elgar scores tough runs, that's his greatest strength. Also, would be great for QDK to bat higher up, but with the gloves not going to happen.

  • B.C.G on January 2, 2017, 18:21 GMT

    Good that he acknowledges his below 40 average is below par. If only some other guys did so,

  • B.C.G on January 2, 2017, 17:59 GMT

    Elgar and the other SA players have to score the big 100s. Im happy for Elgar but he should have scored more. QDK comes in so low down, he doesn't get much chance to score big tons. ABD in-JPD OUT

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