Last week Dean Elgar, 36, announced his intention to retire from international cricket
THE freedom of impending retirement from the test arena allowed South Africa opener Dean Elgar to produce one of his best innings as his unbeaten 140 handed the hosts an 11-run lead over India after day two of the first test at Centurion on Wednesday (27).
Last week the 36-year-old announced his intention to retire from international cricket after the two-test series and said having made the decision he had little to lose as the home side were 256-5 at stumps in reply to India’s first innings’ 245.
“I wanted to play with a bit of freedom,” Elgar said at the close of play after a knock of 211 balls that included 23 fours and saw him celebrate with gusto as he reached the milestone.
Elgar, who made his test debut in 2012 and has played 84 since, said he had gone into the contest against the highly rated Indians with confidence after a good domestic season.
“I know people say it’s only domestic cricket and you still have to do the time in the middle but I’ve been in some really good form with the bat coming into the series and I was pretty confident. I don’t have a lot to lose now, do I? It’s my last series and I want to play with a bit of freedom.”
Elgar said that with the shackles off he felt freer. “But I still want to perform, I still want to contribute to the side and still want to get us into winning positions, still want to score test hundreds. Today the luck was all on my side.”
It was a 14th test century for Elgar but the first at his home ground.
“It’s the one place where I’ve really wanted to score a test ton. I got 95 against Sri Lanka, buggered that one up and I thought today luck is on my side so I need to try and cash in and I’m extremely proud of it,” he said.
Elgar reached his century after lunch and said the pitch had eased off a little as the day wore on.
“Yes, obviously once you get in but you’ve got to earn that right, getting through 30 overs and the new ball,” he added.
“It was moving around but definitely got a little bit easier after lunch and I came out with a little bit more positive intent, looking to score.
“I think you have to have that mindset of looking to score on a wicket like this. You’ve got to try and capitalise where you can.”