Dean Elgar
Dean Elgar (AFP Photo)

Dean Elgar might have the envious job to open in Test cricket for South Africa but it becomes equally frightening when he has to face the new ball in home conditions which he calls the toughest in the world for batsmen.

He might not be exaggerating as the multiple blows he copped on his bodies in the chase of 149 during the third day of the first Test against Pakistan will testify. After being dismissed for a well-made half-century, Elgar was seen with an ice-pack on his arm while watching the chase from the dressing room.

“They need to triple my salary, and Aiden’s as well, because it’s hard work in South Africa.” Elgar quipped after South Africa’s six-wicket win. “It’s definitely the toughest place in the world to bat, I can vouch for that now. But that’s what makes the job so satisfying once you get through the tough times. You look back at those tough times and you really enjoy them. The beer tastes a lot better, I can tell you that. It’s very rewarding when you get through those tough times.”

He continued, “I might have an armguard for the next game. We’ll just have to see what the wicket’s going to play like. But it’s ok. I’ve been hit there many a time in my career, and it’s never pleasant. I know the guys in the changeroom appreciate the work I do, and that makes it heal a little easier. And it’s always nice to ice it with a nice cold beer knowing that we’ve won the game.”

Elgar was beneficiary of a decision that drew polarised responses and had the luck gone in favour of the Pakistan bowlers early on, the hosts’ successful chase could potentially have taken a different turn. A low catch that Azhar Ali claimed of Elgar at the first slip was overturned by the third umpire after the on-field soft-signal was given as out.

“You don’t see a lot when you turn around,” he said. “At first glance, you go on the [fielders’] reaction. The umpires obviously have the final say. Well, the third umpire did. It’s out of my hands. I don’t make any decisions. You’ve got to trust the people in power to make the right calls. And you need a bit of luck to go your way. Thankfully it went our way, and now we’re sitting here at 1-0 going to Cape Town.”