Cape Town - South Africa’s new dawn in Test cricket began in virtually perfect fashion against the West Indies at Centurion on Tuesday.
New skipper Temba Bavuma won the toss, and immediately elected to bat, which in itself was a statement of intent in the opening match of the series.
And from thereon Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram went about their business in methodical fashion as they romped to 99/0 by the lunch interval. Elgar was unbeaten on 53* and Markram on 42*.
Elgar, who is still finding his feet in returning to the rank and file, was hesitant upfront and was fortunate to survive an early chance when the former skipper was dropped on 11 in the slip cordon off Kyle Mayers.
The missed chance gave Elgar the opportunity to breathe and realise that he no longer carried the weight of the team on his shoulders as he looked to be more positive from thereon.
Dean Elgar (53*) and Aiden Markram (42*) are still at the crease for the Proteas as the teams head for lunch.— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) February 28, 2023
Score | Proteas are 99/0 after 28 overs.
📺 Stream #SAvsWI live: https://t.co/0BMWdeEYT3 pic.twitter.com/F3DvltpQyP
With Aiden Markram’s return to Test cricket being a smooth transition at the other end, the pair found their rhythm against a Windies attack that did not pose too many problems with the new ball.
Kemar Roach managed to get some swing away from the left-handed Elgar, and Jason Holder held his lengths against Markram, but the lack of genuine pace in the Windies attack bar Alzarri Joseph severely dented their chances.
Equally, the Windies were guilty of over-pitching on occasion, which allowed both Markram and Elgar to just punch it through the covers. Markram, in particular, was showing off touches of the sublime form he showed during the SA20.