South Africa A v Aus A, 1st unofficial Test, Pretoria, 3rd day July 26, 2013

Elgar and Tsolekile plunder Australia A

ESPNcricinfo staff

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.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • David on July 27, 2013, 21:21 GMT

    TheBigBoodha asks "Is Aus the only country that has risk-taking captains in long format cricket?" Risk is defined ONLY as "the possibility of loss:" winning is not part of the definition. (Look it up!) Perhaps this explains Aus' rankings free-fall, whitewashing/s, SEVEN (36.84%) LOSSES in 19 series over 5 years, Eng owning the Urn, only 2 batsmen (5%) ranked in the top 40 …

    Comparatively, the "safety first" Smith led his team to the no.1 ranking by losing just ONE (4.34%) of 23 series over 7 years, successively beating Eng & Aus at home. (Aus 1st in 20 years since WI in 88/92) SA players are ranked 1, 3, 8, 14, 30, 32 in batting & 1, 2, 9, 34 in bowling - indicators of success!

    Test/1st class cricket requires strategic thinking to win & NOT TO LOSE. A 'win or lose' format like 20/20 is weighted to reward risk. Perhaps TheBigBoodha is best suited to The Big Bash, as it typifies risk. In Test Cricket, a coin toss is the only 'possibility of loss' entertained by a winning skipper.

  • Dummy4 on July 27, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    @ZCF Outkast, It will indeed be interesting to see what approach SA take when Kallis goes, which can't be too far away. He's almost a player that needs two men to replace him, really I think they are making things harder, not easier for themselves by not getting a specialist keeper in now, its all a bit funny really.

  • Dummy4 on July 27, 2013, 14:42 GMT

    Why no Gqamane for SA A??

  • James on July 27, 2013, 8:59 GMT

    Couldn't agree more @TheBigBoodha, though sometimes i wish Clarke would succumb to being a defensive captain. Like in india, i don't know how many heaves Murali Vijay played over midwicket off Nathan Lyon without Clarke changing is attacking field, sometimes it's good aswell.

  • Zak on July 27, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    The fact that Aus A declared doesn't obligate the other team to declare at a similar score. Aus A probably thought they'd had enough runs to get the win. They didn't, and the flat pitch flattered these batsmen. SA A could yet push for a win, and why not?

  • ZCF on July 27, 2013, 7:51 GMT

    Some will argue that this was a flat pitch but apart from Thami - Warner, Maxwell & Elgar were the only other batsmen to really capitalise. The difference between them all is the other 3 have each played between 2-5 Tests so far this year, while Thami last played in one almost 10 years ago.

    Considering he's averaged over 45 in FC cricket for 6 odd years now, why wasn't he an automatic replacement for Boucher. Oh yes I remember, the recently reappointed Hudson is a liar and an unreliable man, while the current keeper AB is a prima donna who gets what he wants, which includes him keeping to maintain some kind of balance to the side, while a bunch of substandard batsmen take turns underperforming in our middle order!

    Perhaps when Kallis retires and AB is expected to make up a lot of those he'll suddenly realise that keeping is hindering him, but will Thami still be available?

    159 is good enough to convince me you can bat son! The were afraid you'd score these runs in Eng&against SL!

  • Dylan on July 27, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    South Africa should have declared when they reached Australia's score to at least make a game of it - right now it's hard to see anything but a draw. Feel sorry for any spectators watching on day 4.

  • James on July 27, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    What is the point of continuing to bat on after the opposition has made a sporting declaration at five down with one guy on 155 not out to keep the game moving towards a result? Is Australia the only country that has risk-taking captains in long format cricket these days? Smith, Strauss, Cook etc are all safety-first types. Sadly, they have been rewarded in recent times for their creative timidity. I don't know who is captaining SA in this game, but it looks like they have graduated from the same school. Maybe they think they are now better than their opponents because they scored more total runs, and it will look good on their CV come promotion time.

  • Peter on July 26, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    This is the wicket that made Warner's case for a test recall. That's a problem I'd say.

  • Basil on July 26, 2013, 22:42 GMT

    I'm surprised no one has been run over because they are playing on a road. Australia declare to make a game of it, while South Africa get into a position where they can't lose, eating up most of the time in the match. What's the point in games like this?

  • No featured comments at the moment.