Johannesburg — Now this is what Test cricket is supposed to be like.
After the hara-kiri at Centurion when 16 wickets fell in one day resulting in a three-day Test match, South Africa’s batting unit have now knuckled down on the first day of the second Test against the West Indies at the Wanderers.
Truth be told, the Proteas were in a similar position on day one at tea last week prior to the chaos that unfolded, but there does seem to be a greater sense of not opening the door for the West Indies again.
Aiden Markram will, though, be kicking himself for not bringing up a second consecutive Test century. After the lean patch that Markram endured prior to his recall, he will know the value of taking full advantage when in form.
The 28-year-old had been playing superbly well all day, striking the ball sweetly through the covers, off both back and front foot on Wednesday.
But with just four runs shy of reaching the three-figure milestone, Markram went off grid and attempted a lap sweep that offered Gudakesh Motie his second scalp of the day after Jermaine Blackwood ran across from regulation slip to leg slip to complete the catch.
It was a brief moment of respite for the West Indies though with Tony de Zorzi playing fluidly at the other end. And with captain Temba Bavuma also back in touch again after his double failure in the first Test, the visitors’ bowling unit toiled for the remainder of the post lunch session.
It was during this period that De Zorzi, playing in only his second Test, brought up his maiden Test half-century and set his stall for a much bigger innings when the players return for the final session.
Second Test, Day 1, Tea
South Africa: 247/2 (Elgar 42, Markram 96, De Zorzi 75*, Motie 2/33)