PORT ELIZABETH – Dean Elgar hit a career-best score and Faf du Plessis stroked an unbeaten 99 as South Africa continued to dominate West Indies on the first day of the second Test at St George’s Park yesterday.
Elgar made 121 and shared a 179-run stand for the second wicket with Du Plessis as the Proteas went to stumps on 270-2 after West Indies had won the toss and asked the hosts to bat.
West Indies lost the first Test by an innings and 220 runs, and continued to look well short of the quality required to be competitive against the No. 1-ranked side in the world.
The tourists twice dropped Du Plessis, while Elgar survived a missed stumping and there were also four missed run-out opportunities.
Despite those chances, captain Denesh Ramdin’s decision to bowl first on a slow pitch appeared ill-advised, and his opposite number Hashim Amla confirmed that he wanted to bat anyway.
Although the West Indies bowling was more disciplined than it was in the first Test, and the seamers did find some assistance early on, it was no more penetrative.
Alviro Petersen was the only batsman to fall during the first two sessions, as he spooned a short, wide delivery from Shannon Gabriel to the fielder at cover to depart for 17.
Elgar and Du Plessis took full control thereafter, constructing their fourth century stand in Tests.
“We get along quite well, and we’ve had some substantial partnerships,” Elgar said.
“We know what to say to each other at the right time. If we see the one person is getting a bit loose, we have a word in their ear.”
The sluggish pace of the wicket did limit the speed at which they were able to score, with Elgar taking 127 deliveries to reach his half-century and Du Plessis requiring 137.
“They didn’t give us a lot. The more experienced bowlers in the line-up hit the area where scoring runs was difficult,” Elgar said.
However, the pair accelerated at the start of the final session, which brought a total of 113 runs, with Elgar reaching his third Test century.
The left-hander fell in the final hour of the day when he pushed at a wide delivery to feather it through to the wicketkeeper and give debutant Kenroy Peters his first Test wicket.
Amla accompanied Du Plessis through to the close of play, reaching stumps on 17 not out.
Peters was one of three changes to the West Indies side, with Gabriel and Jason Holder also coming in and Jermaine Blackwood, Sheldon Cottrell and the injured Kemar Roach all dropping out.
South Africa made two changes, one of which saw Temba Bavuma become the first black African specialist batsman to play for the Proteas.
The 24-year-old replaced the injured Quinton de Kock, while the other change saw leg-spinner Imran Tahir preferred to fast bowler Kyle Abbott. (AP)