Cricket-No demons in Karachi pitch, just poor batting says South Africa’s Elgar

(Reuters) - South Africa opener Dean Elgar believes the perceived 'demons' in the pitch at the National Stadium in Karachi, where 14 wickets fell on the opening day of the first test against Pakistan on Tuesday, are mostly in the minds of the batsmen.

The tourists were bowled out for 220 after winning the toss, but fought back to leave their hosts reeling on 33 for four at the close of an absorbing first day.

There was turn and some variable bounce, but also poor shot selection on both sides, while two of South Africa’s top six were run out trying to score with unnecessary haste.

"I had a feeling the wicket would be slow and low as the ball got softer and the day went on, but I didn’t think it would be a 14-wicket day. There were a few very soft dismissals in both innings," Elgar told reporters.

"If you apply yourself there are no real demons in the wicket."

South Africa have claimed the prized scalp of Pakistan captain Babar Azam, who scored centuries in each of his last three tests, and Elgar believes that has given them a big chance to take a potentially crucial first innings lead.

"If we can emulate the way we started with the ball (on the second morning) and do that in the first hour, we will build pressure and have chances come our way," he said.

"Our fast bowlers will bring the intensity, it’s something they pride themselves on and is something we can control as a bowling unit."

Elgar, who top-scored in South Africa’s innings with 58, was at a loss to explain the rash stroke-play and run outs of Rassie van der Dussen and Temba Bavuma in their innings.

"Sometimes test cricket can get the better of you and you get caught up in the moment. We have to respect that," Elgar said.

South Africa will play two tests and three Twenty20 Internationals on their tour, their first in Pakistan since a militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 in which six policemen and two civilians were killed.

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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