Elgar fills Smith void
The player became the first Protea opening batsman to score a Test century in Sri Lanka.
CAPE TOWN - The Proteas ended day one of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle in a relatively strong position, reaching stumps on 268/5.
Opening batsman Dean Elgar stepped into the void created by the retirement of Graeme Smith to score his second Test match century and his first in his specialist position of opening batsman.
When Elgar was dismissed for 103, he had put the Proteas in a position of considerable strength at 195/2 at the end of the 63rd over.
Elgar also became the first Protea opening batsman to score a Test century in Sri Lanka.
He shared partnerships of 70 with Alviro Petersen and 123 with Faf du Plessis in a new-look Proteas top three.
It came as a genuine surprise when he chased a wide delivery from Suranga Lakmal to be caught behind the wicket.
The Sri Lanka seamer struck a second major blow when he bowled AB de Villiers off the inside edge in the second last over of the day.
Sri Lanka hit back in the final session to take four wickets to leave the Proteas on 268/5 from 91 overs by the close.
Skipper Hashim Amla gave the Proteas a huge advantage by winning the toss.
But the new ball started to reverse immediately after lunch, aiding the Sri Lankan tactics of disciplined line and length bowling to a defensive field.
The pick of the Sri Lankan bowlers was possibly Dilruwan Perera, who picked up the key wickets of Petersen and du Plessis.
Du Plessis became the fourth fastest South African to reach 1,000 Test runs behind Smith, de Villiers and Eddie Barlow when he completed the fourth run of his innings.
Nightwatchman Dale Steyn, yet to face a ball, needs two runs to complete the double of 1,000 Test runs and 300 Test wickets.
Quinton de Kock and Steyn will resume the Proteas' innings tomorrow.
With de Kock established at the crease, and JP Duminy and Vernon Philander still to bat, the Proteas should be able to push on to a total in excess of 400.