Master Markram thrills with ‘AB ping’ on Wanderers pitch that has something for everyone
Proteas / 12 January 2019, 10:00am / Lungani Zama at the Wanderers
JOHANNESBURG – Runs, wickets, runs. And more wickets. The chief curator at the Bullring, Chris Scott, has created a dish that has been given a Michelin star by a bowler and a batsman from each side.
It’s an acquired taste, this balanced-wicket stuff. Bowlers want pace, batsmen don’t mind it. Bowlers love bounce, and batsmen shrug – as long as it’s consistent.
So, when Mohammad Amir and Aiden Markram concurred that the Wanderers offering was a goodie, Scott and his army of assistants would have breathed a sigh of relief.
“If I put my batter’s hat on,” Markram explained, “then that was a good wicket.
“Not that the others were bad,” he added.
The opener then admitted he and the other run-getters would have to get used to a diet of testing pitches, because the Proteas would be silly not to cater to the needs of a gluttonous pace battery.
Amir, smiling at a fine day’s work by the bowling unit, noted that there was something in the wicket for everyone.
Pakistan just didn’t bowl well enough in the first session, and they were met with the unerring blade of Master Markram.
“He is very good through the covers,” Amir observed.
The several thousand in the ground would certainly agree.
This scribe spent the first session in the lower tier of the Corlett Drive grandstand. Thus, the acoustics were amplified for the pop-up concert the South African opener strummed until just after lunch.
It’s a different sound off his bat – one perhaps heard only from the blade of one Abraham Benjamin de Villiers in recent times.
The leather pings off the middle, and scoots to the boundary in an airy sequence of delicious violence.
“No, I’ve not felt better out in the middle for South Africa,” Markram agreed when asked.
He is one of those batsmen who always looks good at the crease, even when he only contributes a brisk 20. On Friday, however, he went all the way to 90, and looked destined for a lot more.
“We changed our plans after lunch, and went wicket to wicket to him,” Amir explained.
There was a collective groan down Corlett way, because the beers from young Ntsiki had been poured cold and quickly, in anticipation of the landmark.