SA off to a good start as Elgar cracks 120

2011-04-14 00:00

APART from a stunning hailstorm, a masterful unbeaten century off the bat of Dean Elgar was the highlight of the first day’s play in the second four-day international between South Africa A and Bangladesh A at the Maritzburg Oval yesterday.

SA having won the toss, Elgar and Andrew Puttick set about taking control in the most professional manner, despatching the long hops with interest.

Although the bowling on the whole was below franchise standard, the age-old principles still apply and Elgar’s drives, nudges, glances and glides were out of the top drawer.

Elgar (120 not out, 15 fours and one six) hardly put a foot wrong on a day in which the batters gave the bowlers nothing to shout about, and his lofted drives in particular were exquisitely executed.

“It was nice to bat against the new ball, but as the ball got older it was similar to the pitches I played on during the South Africa A tour to Bangladesh last winter,” Elgar said.

Bangladesh quick Shahadat Hossain was the pick of the bowlers while Mohammad Ashraful’s spin was tidy, but there was never the concerted pressure from both ends that induces willow-wielders to force the pace.

There was a blip when Puttick played around a straight one and shortly thereafter a visibly disappointed Jacques Rudolph was adjudged lbw by Bangladeshi umpire Anisur Rahman.

From thereon it was business as usual. Farhaan Behardien and Elgar added an unbroken 147 for the third wicket, the former using quick hand-speed to punch a splendid boundary off the back foot during his unbeaten 75 and the latter cutting, pulling and driving with aplomb, the best of which was the straight six over the Dusi End boundary rope to reach his 13th first-class ton.

No sooner had the players returned for the final session when a bolt of lightning and a glance at a light meter saw about-turn for the pavilion.

A heartening development yesterday was the re-opening of the Oval Tavern, the absence of which has long been a complaint of cricket lovers looking in vain to slake their thirst. Thanks to the input of cricket benefactor Allen Hirsch’s company, the watering hole has been reincarnated as the Hirschy Bar and no expense has been spared in its revamp. This splendid facility will plough its profits back into the development of the sport among financially disadvantaged wannabe cricketers.

Weather permitting — and the outlook is not positive — play resumes at 9.30 am today.

 

SCOREBOARD

South Africa A first innings

A Puttick lbw b N Hussain 29

D Elgar not out 120

J Rudolph lbw b M Ashraful 1

F Behardien not out 75

Extras (b2, nb6) 8

Total (2 wickets, 62 overs) 233

Fall of wickets: 1-79, 2-86

Bowling: Shahadat Hossain 14-2-55-0, Robiul Islam 11-0-30-0, Noor Hossain 18-0-86-1, Nasir Hossain 5-1-14-0, Mohammad Ashraful 11-2-33-1, Mehrab Hossain 3-0-13-0.

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