South Africa A v Australia A, 1st unofficial Test, Pretoria, 2nd day July 25, 2013

Elgar's ton boosts his Test hopes


South Africa A 276 for 4 (Elgar 135*, Ahmed 2-81) trail Australia A 474 for 5 (Warner 193, Warner 155*) by 198 runs

Dean Elgar made a strong bid to remain in South Africa's Test team ahead of the fit-again JP Dumimy with an accomplished, unbeaten 135 against a strong Australia A attack in Pretoria. Like David Warner on the opening day, the innings may have wider implications for Elgar albeit scored on a flat, lifeless winter track.

South Africa A coach Vincent Barnes admitted he would have liked a surface with a bit more bounce but the conditions at this time of year made that impossible. The High Performance Centre had done a sterling job in ensuring a lush, green outfield despite the dead grass at stadiums like the Wanderers and Centurion at the moment.

Having amassed a run short of 400 on the first day, at a rate of almost 4.50 per over, Australia A chose to continue on the second morning. Warner was out in the last over the previous evening but Glenn Maxwell continued to build on his century. South Africa A's attack could not dismiss either him or Tim Paine and Australia declared after facing 17 overs and adding 75 runs.

South Africa A batted at a slower rate but enjoyed a healthy opening stand. Free State team-mates Reeza Hendricks and Elgar put on 97, with Elgar appearing in good nick despite the off-season break. Josh Hazlewood bowled with good pace and eventually made the first breakthrough, dismissing Hendricks lbw.

Stiaan van Zyl did not show the class his reputation has been built on and was troubled by Fawad Ahmed, who once again made a push for an Ashes call-up. Ahmed had van Zyl caught at short leg for 8 and then took a superb catch off his own bowling - diving across the pitch - to dismiss Rilee Rossouw for a duck off the next ball. His hat-trick delivery could have seen Justin Ontong caught at silly point but the leading edge looped high and the fielder could not get to it in time.

Instead, Ontong survived to score a calm 60 and share in a 118-run stand with Elgar who brought up his century, off 151, balls with a single off Ahmed, after hitting him for two fours in the same over. Elgar showed good prowess against both seam and spin which will be encouraging for the national selectors ahead of South Africa's next Test series against Pakistan in the UAE.

Ontong was bowled by Moises Henriques as the shadows lengthened across the field but Elgar batted to the close. South Africa are still well behind, but with not much on offer for the bowlers the first unofficial Test looks to be heading for a draw.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on July 26, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    I take back what i said to an extent, obviously this wicket is FAAAR too flat, the tsolekile fella didn't look all that comfortable when i saw him in some t20's but he was firing here, Elgar got a big double hundred after being peppered for a pair on debut my mitch johnson. This takes away from Warner and Maxy a bit for mine.

  • Blessing on July 26, 2013, 14:47 GMT

    Nice knock by Elgar, causing a good headache for the selectors as to go with Duminy or retain him in the test side.

  • James on July 26, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Bowling attacks are decent, two of the Saffa bowlers both have 7fer's at test level and the Australian bowlers are decent. But this is the issue with having green wickets at home, maybe our bowlers arn't as good as we think they are, they need to toil in these conditions.

  • mitch on July 26, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Wasn't Elgar the poor bloke who Mitch Johnson dismissed twice for a pair on debut?

  • John on July 26, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    With SA 421-5 as I write, either this is the flattest track in the history of the world or the two bowling attacks are completely useless.

    Either way, it doesn't really help either country with assessing their young prospects.

  • Samuel on July 26, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    Typical. The minute he's out of Somerset colours he starts scoring bucketfuls. Looked hopeless for us - maybe that's just the effect we're having on players at the moment!

  • Paul on July 26, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    Elgar hadn't really had the "off-season break" mentioned in the report. He spent June in England being embarrassingly out of his depth for Somerset in the County Championship. It's fair to say we were only lumbered with him thanks to also being lumbered with his fellow South African Dave Nosworthy as our new Director of Cricket.

  • harjinder on July 26, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    Some Southafrican young talented players ready to set for benchstrentgh of SA "s final 15 members squad...ELgaar,Kyle Handricks , ...But selectors are always ignore them countinuously....that s why SA have been strugling at International leval since 1999 .INDIA is World champion because they call youngesters on right time Kohli,PUjara ,Badrinath,Yadav,Dhawan Ashwin..ext, is an example....after winning the World cup they selected these players not going with Sachin,Yuvraj, Harbhajan.Sehwag ,Zaheer,ect.but SA dont do that (never ),,,,that is why Southafrica is on 6-7 place (ratting )or INDIA is THE CHAMPION OF THE CHAMPION....that is the fact..Good luck

  • Harjinder on July 26, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    HI SA fans....I m surprised ...why did SA board not call ELGAAR in ODI side in LANKA...he is a upper order batsman /allrounder and usefull to ASIAN conditions as a spinn option...he is playing very good inning against good AUS bowling attack...good luck

  • Stephen on July 25, 2013, 22:33 GMT

    @Big_Maxy_Walker: Have a look at Faulkner's first class record again and you'll see that's he's more then good enough with the ball to challenge for a spot, only problem is the bowling is where Australia's strength is. Pattinson, Cummins, Siddle, Harris, Bird & Starc are all ahead of him. Faulkner would be next in line with Sayers & Hazlewood and ahead of Johnson & Hilfenhaus.

    Once Faulkner improves his batting we'll see the end of Watson and Faulkner will be Australia's all rounder.

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