POTCHEFSTROOM – There was a disappointing ending to Aiden Markram’s first Test innings here on Thursday as his fell three runs short of a hundred on debut.
Markram was run out for 97, trying to get Dean Elgar – then on 99 – to his century in what was a dominant opening stand for the Proteas, on a day when events off the field commandeered greater attention.
The South African openers fought desperately to try and draw attention away from the controversy swirling around their employers at Cricket South Africa, as they brought up the first century stand for a South African opening pair in 10 Tests.
The action on the field at Senwes Park was playing second fiddle to the action in the CSA boardroom, after it emerged at the organisation had parted ways with chief executive Haroon Lorgat on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, the national team was steadily attempting to right the wrongs it endured in England, with Markram and Elgar providing a solid foundation for the hosts.
The pair propelled the home team to 196/0 before Markram’s polished innings was unfortunately curtailed in the final over before tea.
Elgar had nudged the ball into the offside and set off for a single before stopping, but by that point, Markram was already two-thirds of the way down the crease, and Bangladesh were easily able to break the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
Markram deserved a century, such was the class and comfort he displayed in his 235-minute stay at the crease that saw him hit 13 fours from 152 balls.
Elgar reached his century a few balls later, although his celebration was somewhat dejected.
Hashim Amla was yet to face a delivery.
A Proteas opening partnership had last shared a 100-run stand in the Boxing Day Test last summer, when Elgar and Stephen Cook shared century stands in both innings of that match.
For Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim, it’s been a nightmare start to a series for which he and his players had much hope.
He erred badly in choosing to bowl after winning the toss, and his bowlers have created little on what is a docile first-day pitch.