DURBAN – On his first day on the job, new Titans skipper Aiden Markram couldn’t put a foot wrong.
He won the toss against the Dolphins at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Tuesday morning and opted to bat first, before helping himself to a day-one century in the Sunfoil Series.
That Markram took to the dual challenge of captaincy and opening the batting like the so-called duck to water is no surprise.
We know he can bat, and those in the know maintain that the only thing more impressive than his range of strokes is his ability to read a game as a leader.
The fact that he delivered on Tuesday, however, emphasised his temperament, because he did so in front of the new South African coach, as well as the convenor of selectors.
Ottis Gibson and Linda Zondi would have been encouraged by what they saw, because an opening batsman is high on their priority list.
Markram tends to score quickly, and he hurried to his century off just 143 balls. What would have pleased the high-powered pair just as much is the early-season touch of Faf du Plessis, as the national captain weighed in with 96.
Though he would have been disappointed at falling four short of a first-class ton, the time spent at the crease is invaluable at this stage of the season, and he also scored his runs at a good rate, facing just 136 balls.
Markram’s 119 was the cornerstone of the Titans’ dominance on day one, as they gleaned 373/6 from 96 overs, against a Dolphins attack that relied heavily on the nagging accuracy of Robbie Frylinck.
The burly all-rounder picked up where he left off last term in red-ball cricket, snaring 4/52 in 16 accurate overs, trying desperately to keep the Durbanites in the contest.
Quinton de Kock, yet another Protea in a powerful Titans side, also found some form with a measured 54 before he was added to Frylinck’s collection.
Titans coach Mark Boucher had expressed his wish for a fast start, and the Pretoria outfit certainly did that, led by their young skipper with an acute sense of timing.
Titans 373/6 off 96 overs (Aiden Markram 119, Faf du Plessis 96, Quinton de Kock 54; Robbie Frylinck 4/52, Senuran Muthusamy 2/58)