Proteas’ Dean Elgar bows out with ‘amazing memories’

Dean Elgar and Virat Kohli chat after day two of the second Test between South Africa and India at Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday

Dean Elgar and Virat Kohli chat after day two of the second Test between South Africa and India at Newlands in Cape Town on Thursday. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Published Jan 4, 2024


Dean Elgar may have bowed out of Test cricket as a losing captain but the South African said he finished what had been a "bit of a journey" with "amazing memories".

The 36-year-old opener will probably find it of little consolation but he ended his distinguished Proteas career in a Test that will go down in history as the shortest of all time in terms of balls bowled.

Elgar scored a majestic 185 in the first Test of the two match series with India but managed just four and 12 in the match at Newlands as the tourists won by seven wickets to tie the series.

He admitted bashfully that he had made the wrong call when he won the toss and chose to bat on Wednesday — a shell-shocked South African side were skittled out for 55.

"I would have liked to do more in this game," he said at the post match presentation ceremony where he was named joint player of the series with Jasprit Bumrah.

"Still very proud of my performance in Centurion and finally on the board in the hundred club there.

"But pretty difficult batting conditions … it would have been brilliant," he added referring to pulling off a win in his final match.

Elgar, who scored 5331 runs at an average of 38.08 in 85 Tests, said the Indian attack had been outstanding with Mohammed Siraj taking six wickets in the first innings and then joint player of the series Bumrah six in the second.

"You want to challenge yourself against the best in the world," said Elgar.

"Bumrah is a world-class bowler and he deserves the Man of the Series.

"Glad I don't have to face these guys again," he added laughing.

Elgar understandably quite emotional — his opening partner Aiden Markram dedicated his swashbuckling century in the second innings to him — said his career had given him many moments to look back on fondly.

"Bit of a journey and amazing memories with the baggy green, so special…," said Elgar, who scored 14 centuries with a highest score of 199 runs against Bangladesh.

Elgar had been hugged by Virat Kohli and other Indian players after he was out for 12 in his final innings on Wednesday.

On Thursday they made their respect for him crystal clear by presenting him with a shirt signed by all the squad.

"Such an important player for South Africa," said Indian captain Rohit Sharma.

"Very, very gritty and his wicket — we spoke about how we want to get him out quickly.

"We appreciate what he has done for South Africa.

"Brilliant career — best wishes ahead," added Rohit.