Elgar and Tsolekile plunder Australia A
South Africa A 614 for 7 (Elgar 268, Tsolekile 159) lead Australia A 474 for 5 dec by 140 runs
Dean Elgar and Thami Tsolekile both registered career-bests as South Africa A piled up the runs on the third day against Australia A. The pair added 267 for sixth wicket, Elgar falling for 268 and Tsolekile 159, as the South Africans reached 614 for 7 on a pitch that refused to offer the bowlers any encouragement.
While Elgar already had a confidence-boosting hundred under his belt overnight, Tsolekile's century was an important innings for him. After controversially being overlooked last season, having been told he would be given a chance in the Test team following Mark Boucher's retirement, churning out hundreds is the only way to force himself back into the frame.
South Africa's wicketkeeping situation could be entering a state of flux. Although AB de Villiers, who needs to look after a troublesome back, has managed to combine batting and keeping in Tests since Boucher's serious eye injury in England last year forced him to quit, he has been less comfortable in his triple role in the one-day side, which also involves the captaincy.
He has handed the keeping gloves to Quinton de Kock in the ongoing one-day series against Sri Lanka and, if concerns emerge about his workload or fitness, there may yet be a chance for Tsolekile to earn another crack at Test level, if he scores heavily when chances such as this A-series present themselves.
He could hardly have wished for better conditions in which to fill his boots. The winter pitch has offered 12 wickets in three days, with just three batsmen falling on the third. Vaughn van Jaarsveld's early exit to Chadd Sayers was a false alarm; Elgar and Tsolekile did not depart until deep into the final session.
Tsolekile, with his fifth first-class hundred, plundered 19 fours and three sixes in his 256-ball stay, going past his previous best of 141 during the stand with Elgar that dominated the day for 72 overs.
Elgar continued to accumulate in opportune fashion, given the looming presence of a fit-again JP Duminy for South Africa's Test middle-order. He picked off the Australian bowling with ease - although the quicks had long since decided it was a futile effort trying to flog too much from the docile surface - and easily surpassed his previous highest score of 225 before being stumped off Glenn Maxwell.
Nothing over the first three days has suggested a clatter of wickets is imminent, but the South Africans, who lead by 140, could yet put Australia A under some pressure to save the game.