Frustrated Elgar finds satisfaction in the long haul
"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