AIDEN MARKRAM ticked an important box for the Standard Bank Proteas when he scored 97 on debut before being unluckily run out and sharing a first-wicket stand of 196 with Dean Elgar. With Elgar going on to his 9th Test century and his 4th this year the Proteas were comfortably placed at stumps, having being sent into bat and finishing the day on 298 for the loss of Markram’s wicket. It was the first time the Proteas had had an opening partnership in excess of 150 in the past seven years. What really stood out was the mastery and composure of Markram who looked as though he had spent all his life playing Test cricket. And, if there was disappointment in not getting to three figures this time, it was little more than a blips on the way to what promises to be an outstanding career. Markram’s 97 came off 152 balls (13 fours) and the partnership was worth 196 in 54.2 overs. Elgar batted through to the close (128 off 285 balls, 9 fours and 2 sixes) and shared a follow up partnership of 102 with Hashim Amla (68 off 103 balls, 7 fours and a six). Elgar has now gone past Cheteshwar Pujara of India as the leading runs scorer in Test cricket this year and needs another 5 for an aggregate of 900 runs at an average in excess of 52. The run out was the closest Bangladesh came to taking a wicket as their attack posed few problems on a pitch, that apart for some uneven bounce, was ideal for batting.
The Proteas also gave a first cap to Andile Phehlukwayo in the all-rounder spot and the pair become the 97th and 98th player to represent the Proteas in Test cricket.