Proteas

Biff's kind words for Elgar

Dean Elgar (Gallo Images)
Dean Elgar (Gallo Images)

Durban - The Proteas' batting display on the second and third days of the first Test against England was a one-man show. 

Dean Elgar's 118* made up more than half of South Africa's first innings score of 214 and the concentration, application and fight he displayed throughout his undefeated 386 minute, 246 ball knock reassures South African supporters that at least one of the opening slots is in capable hands as the series progresses. 

Elgar's knock revealed shades of Gary Kirsten and, more recently, Graeme Smith. 

Former Proteas captain Smith - a 117 Test veteran - is in Durban where he is doing work as a commentator. 

Elgar said after Monday's play that this knock was "right up there" with one of the finest moments of his career, and he revealed a brief conversation he had with Smith after the Proteas innings and just before the second session was about to start. 

"He (Smith) just said how excited he felt for me. He said he felt like he was batting out there with me," Elgar recalled.

"We're very similar in character when it comes to showing that kind of grit and fight out there ... he was basically out there saying that he appreciates what I've done and he's been there before.

"He was just there to give me a tap on the shoulder and a 'well done'."

Elgar also backed struggling opening partner Stiaan van Zyl, who made a second ball duck in the first innings, to come good.

"Opening the batting is not the easiest thing in cricket ... I think it's the toughest part of the game," said Elgar.

"It's a new role for Stiaan and he's very capable of doing the role. I'm just there as the helping hand to give him some good advice ... we all want him to do very well in that position and he's very capable."

The Proteas go into Tuesday's fourth day 261 runs behind England and are staring down the barrel of defeat in the first Test.

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