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Dean Elgar erases WACA nightmare

AAP logoAAP 5/11/2016 Justin Chadwick

The WACA Ground used to be Dean Elgar's house of frights. Now, it's his batting paradise.

Elgar's Test debut in 2012 was as horrible as they come - a pair of ducks against the searing pace of Mitchell Johnson at the WACA.

Those painful memories would have come flooding back when Elgar made just 12 in South Africa's first-innings against Australia on Thursday.

At that stage, Elgar's average at the WACA was a paltry four.

But the 29-year-old opener put that shocking record aside on Saturday to post one of the most important centuries of his career.

The Proteas were in danger of falling into a losing position in the first Test against Australia after slumping to 2-45 in their second innings.

But a fighting 127 from Elgar in a 250-run stand with JP Duminy (141) changed the complexion of the match.

Elgar registered 17 fours and one six in his in his 316-ball innings.

He patiently defended the good balls and duly punished the bad ones.

Elgar offered a chance on 81, but Mitchell Starc failed to get under the skied edge while running back from mid-off.

His 473-minute knock finally came to an end when he chased a wider Josh Hazlewood delivery and edged it to gully.

By then, the damage had been done.

Australia's pace attack wilted in the 37-degree heat.

Elgar and Duminy were rewarded for their efforts at each drinks break with chairs to sit on, wet towels to wrap around their necks, and an umbrella to shade them.

It would have been a funny sight for the Australian players, and no doubt drew some sledging when play resumed. But it was a tactic that helped Elgar and Duminy produce the goods.

Whether Australia's batsmen can emulate Elgar and Duminy remains to be seen.

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