West Indies v South Africa Tests - Men's
Elgar digs in to lead Proteas revival on opening day
Dean Elgar played a captain's innings to lead South Africa out of trouble after three quick wickets fell to the West Indies early on the first day
19 June 2021, 09:57 AM AEST
Dean Elgar showed the qualities South Africa recognised in raising him to the captaincy, making 77 to lead the Proteas' fightback against the West Indies on the first day of the second Test.
Elgar's late partnership of 79 with Quinton de Kock, his predecessor as captain, solidified South Africa's recovery from 3-37 in a damp morning session after being sent in to bat.
De Kock followed up his match-defining 141 not out in the first Test with an unbeaten 58 which had South Africa 5-218 when stumps were drawn in bad light, just before the rain returned.
Elgar survived the torrid start to the South African innings when the ball swung and was beaten twice by Kemar Roach in the short period between the delayed start of play and a fleeting rain break.
His first scoring shot was a boundary and he went on to his first half-century as captain from 147 balls. He was bowled by Kyle Mayers who brought a ball back from outside the left-hander's off stump just before the arrival of the second new ball.
De Kock brought up his 22nd Test half-century from 89 balls in an assertive innings which helped break the early domination of the West Indies fast bowlers.
Shannon Gabriel (2-47) earlier took two early wickets on his return to the West Indies to put South Africa under pressure.
The veteran fast bowler struck in his first over – the second of the day – and again to break a crucial partnership just before tea to leave the Proteas 4-125 heading to the final session.
The West Indies won the toss and opted to bowl in St Lucia as they look to draw the series after losing the first Test by an innings.
Proteas rookie batsman Kyle Verreynne, playing just his second Test, said he had to shelves his usual free-flowing style with the advice from Eglar to "stay boring" and get through.
"With the conditions being difficult, you don't want to focus too much on scoring runs; it's all about spending time in the middle." Verreynne explained.
"The messages from (Elgar) were about reminding me to stay patient, stick to the processes, remember the chats we had in the week, don't do anything different, stay boring and spend time out in the middle.
"There was quite a lot of rain around yesterday as well so the wicket didn't see any sunlight and it was a bit tacky in the morning.
"With the overcast conditions, there was quite a bit of swing about.
"And then after lunch, the wicket started firming up and it was moving a bit quicker off the wicket.
"They have got a really skilful bowling line-up and they are very good at using the Dukes ball to their advantage. They made scoring quite tricky.
"I am quite a free-scoring player, but I found out in the first Test it's probably not the way to go on this wicket."
Having come in with the Proteas in strife at 3-37, Elgar and Verreynne put on an 87-run stand before he was caught down the leg-side, a faint nick showing up on the snicko after the batsman's review.
"I have been working a lot this week on adjusting to these conditions and putting certain shots away that I am used to playing.
"It was really nice to have Dean there to remind me of those chats and the net sessions I've had where I have had to restrict myself."
"What I found in this Test series is that you don't really get a break.
"Sometimes in domestic cricket, you can go through periods where you've got to get through a five-over spell of really ruthless cricket back home and once you get through that, you can play freely.
"But here, it's the whole day.
"The bowlers don't really take their foot off the pedal. You've got to be on it every single ball otherwise you are going to get found out."