Proteas legend and now batting consultant Jacques Kallis lauded the grit of debutant opener Pieter Malan as South Africa still dream of an unlikely positive result in the second Test against England at Newlands.
The home side will go into the final day on 126 for two, with their victory target being 438 – an auspicious number in South African cricket history but it would be a world record chase in a Test match.
30-year-old Malan, who’s been playing first-class cricket for over a decade, channelled all his strengths to end the day on 63 not out, having batted for nearly four hours and facing 193 deliveries.
He generally had support, but Cobras teammate Zubayr Hamza was unfortunate to be dismissed caught behind for 18 by an excellent delivery from Jimmy Anderson in the penultimate over of the day, and opener Dean Elgar felt he did not get the rub of the green with his caught behind decision, which was confirmed on review by the thinnest of spikes on Ultra-Edge.
“I was very impressed with Pieter, it’s not his first roadshow in terms of first-class cricket, but obviously his first Test and he’s a real fighter, which is what you want at the top of the order. He showed that he knows how to switch on and off, I was very impressed with his mental capability, obviously he has a good technique and played the situation well. He knows his game pretty well judging by the amount of first-class runs he has scored [10 229],” Kallis said.
“Dean is very disappointed, he felt a bit unlucky. But if I tell you the truth about whether he hit the ball or not, I think I might get into trouble!” South Africa’s leading Test run-scorer chuckled.
Elgar himself was more forthright in an interview with Sky Sports: “I wouldn’t waste a referral knowing that I’d nicked it. I don’t play cricket like that. I like to see myself as someone who takes their outs if they’re out, so I wouldn’t waste a referral like that. It’s a bit of an emotional time when those kind of things happen, but when I’d simmered down and was watching the footage I could still say that I hadn’t hit it.
“I don’t know if I trust the technology. I’m going to reserve my comments because I don’t want to get into trouble with the ICC. But as a player I can say I’m very confident I didn’t nick out. Our coach also alluded to my elbow hitting my pad, but it is what it is. So be it. It’s what creates the theatre of Test cricket I guess,” Elgar said.
Meanwhile, Kallis hopes the Proteas remember their cracking chase of 414 against the Aussies in Perth almost 12 years ago and won’t discount the possibility of a win.
“I’ve seen strange and crazy things in this game and all three results are probably still possible. But it’s still going to be a very tough task for us, but we’re not ruling out going for the win, we’ll see how we look at tea. I think the pitch has flattened out, it looked very battable today and if things go our way and someone plays a special knock then you never know.
“Everyone will have to chip in, but we have memories of our Perth chase of 414 in 2008/9 and also coming close at the Wanderers, scoring 450 against India in 2013/14, so we know we can do it.”