Under all circumstance, Dean Elgar wasn’t supposed to score his 8th Test century at the Oval against England but as destiny has in store for him, Elgar went on to notch up his 8th Test century but couldn’t save South Africa from the blushes as they lost the 3rd Test by a convincing margin of 239 runs.
Elgar could have dismissed for a duck of the 2nd ball he faced. He was struck adjacent to the stumps by a Stuart Broad delivery which was clipping the stumps. The on field umpire Aleem Dar had originally given it not out and despite England’s referral, Elgar survived. The southpaw got his 2nd reprieve when Keaton Jennings dropped a difficult chance.
He might have been dismissed on 73 but as destiny was with him he survived this time also. He had followed a Stuart Broad delivery down the leg side and got the slightest of tickle. The English players appealed half-heartedly and weren’t convinced but the replays showed later that Elgar had got a faint nick. He survived yet again.
Meanwhile, he was hurt on the hip while batting on 33 by a delivery from Toby Roland-Jones. Elgar had injured himself earlier in the match as well when Jonny Bairstow drove a delivery straight back to him. He started bleeding and had a bruised finger and was later hurt yet again by a Ben Stokes delivery while batting which smashed into his bruised finger. Elgar knows that it is a part and parcel of Test cricket and it is the reason why he can now reflect on his 8th Test century with utmost satisfaction.
“I prefer not getting hit, to be honest, but you have to take the blows. It puts me in a different mindset. It’s like the challenge is a little bit more. I guess only an opening batsman could see it that way. I haven’t taken this off yet and I’m not going to,” Elgar was quoted as saying by the ESPN Cricinfo.
He is reportedly not going to have an X ray to determine how bad the damage is.
“That’s a waste of money. Let’s not go that way,” Elgar said. Though the medical team will have a final word on Elgar’s availability for the deciding Test, the southpaw has already made himself available and said that the decider is tailor made for his approach.
“It’s something that gets me going, chirping and stuff like that that is something that really gets me going. I enjoy that,” he said. “England are a big huff-and-puff bowling attack and when they are on top they are definitely going to bring their mouths as well.”
Despite the vocal support of the home spectators, Elgar has thoroughly enjoyed the crowds in the Tests which has been played so far.
“It’s brilliant, that’s why you play the game. As a kid, you witness that on TV and you hear the crowd singing the person’s name – you have to try and put it on your side as well, get motivated. You almost have to be a little more stubborn, tighter in your game plan, so you can use it in your own game.”
The atmosphere in the ground was ruckus when Ben Stokes was making the ball talk on the 4th day afternoon which saw him claiming two prized wickets of Proteas captain Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock in consecutive deliveries. Elgar survived the spell with a few hits and misses.
“It’s a great occasion facing a guy like that. He’s a big-match player and he’s going to come hard, it’s a great battle playing against him. That’s what makes Test cricket so special still. People can’t say the game is dying when you have support like that happening, it seems to happen more when two big Test nations are playing against each other. It’s brilliant for the individuals. That’s what makes Test cricket so much better than any other format.”
“It’s a freaky game, you will never be better than this game. There will always be a script written by someone else,” Elgar signed off.