Cape Town – Proteas’ Men’s Test captain Dean Elgar took a significant step in his preparation for the upcoming India series with his 44th First-Class century upon his return to the Titans team against Western Province at Newlands on Thursday.
Elgar had been hamstrung since playing in the Cricket SA T20 Knockout competition at the end of September, which forced him to miss the opening rounds of the new domestic Four-Day Series.
In fact, Elgar’s last red-ball encounter was the second and final Test against the West Indies in St Lucia back in June. However, the Test skipper showed that he was well and truly over his injury by spending a large part of the day at the crease in compiling 117 off 159 balls (18x4).
Elgar, however, eventually fell to left-arm spinner Yves Kamanzi in an almost identical manner to the way he was dismissed by England’s Dom Bess in the New Year Test last year when he swung across the line only to find Joe Root at mid-on.
He later described his dismissal as a “brain fart” after an almost six-hour stay at the crease.
It was a similar situation on Thursday with Elgar and fellow centurion Grant Mokoena keeping the WP bowlers at bay until almost the end of the second session with the Titans opening pair sharing a 231-run partnership for the first wicket.
Mokoena actually overshadowed his more senior partner at times, and went to stroke 154 off 291 balls (26x4) to ensure the home side were left rueing their decision to send in the Titans after winning the toss under a virtual cloudless Cape Town sky.
With captain Neil Brand also adding a further 48 from No 3, the Titans finished the opening day in the powerful position of 374/4 despite a couple of late wickets for WP debutant Kieran Kenny (2/67).
Meanwhile at the Wanderers, it was the ball that dominated with the impressive Lions seamers once again wrecking havoc with Duanne Olivier (4/38) and Sisanda Magala (4/83) cleaning up the Rocks for 170 in just 51.1 overs. Janneman Malan (54) and Stiaan van Zyl (42) were the only worthy contributors to the Rocks total. The Lions reached 25/1 at stumps with former Proteas new-ball bowler Kyle Abbott trapping Joshua Richards in front for a breezy 18 (4x4).
The two remaining A section matches remain delicately poised with the Warriors posting 313/6 against the North West Dragons in Potchefstroom, while the Dolphins were made to work for their runs at Kingsmead as they trudged along to 197/6 against the Knights before bad light brought an early close to the opening day’s proceedings.