DEAN ELGAR fell agonisingly one run short of a maiden Test double century and Hashim Amla scored his 27th three-figure score at this level as the Standard Bank Proteas tightened their grip on the first Sunfoil Test match against Bangladesh at Senwes Park on Friday.
Elgar (199 off 388 balls, 15 fours and 3 sixes) and Amla (137 off 200 balls, 17 fours and a six) shared a second wicket stand of 215 that followed the 196 that Elgar and Aiden Markram had posted for the first wicket. Their endeavours enabled Faf du Plessis to declare during the tea interval on day two at 496/3 and then capture three Bangladesh wickets including the key one of their captain, Mushfiqur Rahim before the close.
Bangladesh scored at a good rate but they are still a mammoth 369 runs in arrears.
They are also discovering their big mistake they made in not including a specialist left-arm spinner in their line-up. Keshav Maharaj, taking full advantage of the rough outside the left-handers’ off-stump has already emerged as the likely match-winning bowler for the Proteas. He had Mushfiqur dropped twice by the time he had made 20 and finally got his man with the aid of a sharp catch at short leg by Markram.
The latter has taken two catches as his dream debut continues and he gives the Proteas yet another athletic man in the field and a safe catcher close to the bat. The fact that he can also bowl part-time off spin suggests he may have another role to play in this match as well.
The Proteas will want to tighten up their bowling accuracy when play resumes tomorrow but they nevertheless hold just about all the cards.
As for Elgar he continues to take his batting to new heights and he is closing in on the notable landmark of more than 1 000 Test runs in a calendar year. He currently has 966 at an average of 53.66.
Amla made runs scoring look ridiculously simple as he scored at a quick rate throughout his innings and for the Proteas to have their champion batsman in this sort of form this early in the season augurs extremely well for the home summer.