Dean Elgar has one of the ugliest stances in world cricket. He doesn’t look flashy. The way he scores runs is extremely outdated. But as far as effectiveness goes, there are not many Test openers who could claim to have a better grip on the format.
And as his career is coming to an end, there has been a new sense of euphemism when he carted the Indian bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah included, to all sides of the ground to bring up his 14th Test century. Does that mean Elgar will reconsider his retirement from the format? You bet not.
"My family's here and my friends were here watching, and knowing that this is my last international fixture here. I'm now on the honours board at all the Test venues in South Africa [at which he has played]. There's no turning back now. I don't have anything to lose - whether I fail or not it's still coming to an end,” Elgar said at the end of the second day’s play in Centurion.
Elgar’s batting at the Supersport Park was so devastating that not a single Indian bowler could trouble him. Even though Bumrah looked promising for a while, the returns were far from what he would have liked. With debutant David Bedingham, who has a lot of experience playing first-class cricket in England, at the other end, Elgar had the option of playing without any worry.
"The ball was going around - Bumrah was swinging it both ways - and Tony did bloody well to get through it. I know he only got 20-odd, but getting that newish ball old, to allow David [Bedingham] to come in and play his natural game was something that won't be spoken about. But I'll mention it.”
The UK's departure from the European Union meant David Bedingham had to move back to South Africa, even though Durham kept him as one of their two overseas players for the following season. He scored Durham's second-highest Championship score of their history with 257 against Derbyshire in 2021, apart from posting three more 180+ scores across 2021 and 2022. Overall, since 2019, Bedingham has amassed 4,561 runs in first-class cricket at a remarkable average of 53.66, having struck 13 hundreds.
"You would think Beders is a youngster coming into Test cricket, but he's got a lot of experience in the first-class game and has done well in South Africa and in county conditions. It's not the easiest club he played for; the pitch is not conducive to free-scoring players. But you can see he came in with a lot of confidence. He played like he had 20 Tests under his belt.
"It was a straightforward message - I'm pretty straightforward out there - but it was also about making them aware that if we get through these two [Bumrah and Siraj], they've got two more [seam] bowlers [Shardul and Prasidh] and we can try and capitalise,” the former South African Test skipper added.