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South Africa coach Shukri Conrad hails 'phenomenal' Dean Elgar after Boxing Day Test heroics

South Africa head coach Shukri Conrad was effusive in his praise for the retiring Dean Elgar after the Proteas demolished India in the Boxing Day Test at Centurion.

The home side completed an innings-and-32-run victory on the third day to go 1-0 up in the two-match series with the second Test set to start at Newlands next Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Elgar had announced that the two matches against India would be his last on the international stage and started his farewell with a magnificent 185 in the Proteas' total of 408.

The left-handed opener, usually known for his grit and determination in fighting through tough situations, looked fluent in his 425 minutes at the crease that included 28 boundaries.

Conrad told reporters after the victory: "Maybe the retirement decision had everything to do with the way he played... I thought Dean was phenomenal.

"I haven't seen Dean play any better. If you look at Dean's record, he is second to Graeme (Smith) in terms of opening batters (in South Africa) and that's something to be really proud of.

"That's something we want to start highlighting: obviously the team comes first but we also want to talk about individual performances that put us up in lights."

Elgar did not just score the runs that propelled the Proteas to victory but also took over the captaincy early on the first day after Temba Bavuma suffered a hamstring strain.

There was talk before the contest that Elgar's decision to call time on his international career was because he did not get along with Conrad but the coach put those rumours to bed.

Elgar will lead the Proteas in his final Test at Newlands after Bavuma was subsequently ruled out of the series decider with Zubayr Hamza added to the squad as cover.

Conrad added: "Everybody is looking forward to the New Year's Test. There hasn't been one in a while where crowds were allowed in, and if rumours are to be believed, I think the first few days are pretty much sold out.

"Then obviously Dean's swansong. Dean will captain the side. I think I must add, if there was this frosty relationship, he wouldn't be captaining.

"I think the guys will really be up for it... there is a series to be won."

READ MORE: Proteas tear through India to seal innings victory at Centurion

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