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Defiant and bruised Elgar can't stop India victory

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Dean Elgar became the first South African to carry his bat through a Test innings twice but it was not enough to stop India winning the final Sunfoil Freedom Test match at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium by 63 runs on Saturday.

Elgar had previously made 118 out of a total of 214 for the Standard Bank Proteas against England at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead in 2015 and today he finished unbeaten on 86 (240 balls, 9 fours and a six) as his team finished well short of their victory target of 241.

 

Other players to have done it twice include Australians Bill Woodfull and Bill Lawry, England’s Sir Len Hutton and Desmond Haynes of the West Indies who did it on three occasions.

It was a magnificent effort from the gutsy left-hander who had taken a fearsome physical battering from the India seamers the previous evening and for a long time it looked as though the Proteas might pull off a successful chase as he and Hashim Amla (52 off 140 balls, 5 fours) put on 119 for the second wicket in 51 overs.

But the departure of Amla shortly before the tea interval sparked a collapse that saw the last 9 wickets fall for 53 runs in 21 overs. Vernon Philander (10) was the only other batsman to reach double figures.

Mohammed Shami matched the performance of Jasprit Bumrah from the first innings in taking 5/28 as all four Indian seamers played their role.

In retrospect the Proteas will look back on a number of dropped catches in both Indian innings that cost them dearly but the plain fact was that the Indian bowlers used the conditions better than their South African counterparts.

The Proteas nevertheless won the Freedom Trophy for the overall series 2-1 and managed to close the gap behind India at the top of the ICC Test Championship rankings.

It was India’s third Test match victory in South Africa and their second at this venue where they maintained their unbeaten record of two wins and three draws in five matches.

Virat Kohli finished the leading runs scorer in the series while Philander, Shami and Kagiso Rabada were the joint leading wicket takers (15 each).

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was named Sunfoil Man of the Match for his contributions with both bat and ball while Philander was named Sunfoil Man of the Series.