BLOEMFONTEIN – Dean Elgar’s 10th Test hundred and Aiden Markram’s first have put South Africa in a powerful position at tea on the opening day of the second Test with Bangladesh.
The Proteas were 256/1 at the break, which was taken 10 minutes later than scheduled after a delay with delivering the Bangladesh team’s food, saw lunch extended from 40 to 50 minutes.
It was yet another punishing session for the Bangladeshis, who conceded 130 runs in 27 overs, having leaked 126 runs in the first session.
Again captain Mushfiqur Rahim was made to pay for making the wrong decision at the toss – this was clearly a bat-first wicket, but his own lack of confidence in his batsmen, who were rolled out for 90 in the second innings of the first Test, and his bowlers’ poor execution has made this another bad day for the tourists.
Markram and Elgar could not believe their good fortune as they were served up bowling normally found in the local club league. The only danger for the South African openers was if they tried to do anything fancy.
Neither did though – in Elgar’s case it’s simply not his way – while Markram, for all his attacking intent, was especially watchful here, seeking to atone for missing out on the landmark in his debut Test last week.
It was Markram who dominated the scoring throughout the afternoon, with an array of classically struck drives and powerful clips off his toes through the leg-side to maintain the home side’s dominance.
Elgar ensured there were no dramas like last week by getting to his century with back-to-back boundaries. It was his fifth century of the year, and by a distance the quickest of his career off just 115 balls, and he struck 17 fours.
Markram too hit consecutive boundaries to register his first Test ton, and his celebration was emotional for himself and his girlfriend, who was wiping away the tears. Markram’s century came off 141 balls and included 16 fours.
Adding to the tourists’ woes, Elgar was also dropped on 110 by wicket-keeper Liton Das, a difficult chance that came his way when Elgar misjudged a pull off Mustafizur, with the ball looping high towards Das.
He reached up with his right hand, but could never control the ball.
Opener Imrul Kayes was also forced off the field at the end of the 35th over when the ball hit him on the knee while he was fielding in the gully.
Das’s miss wasn’t too costly, with Bangladesh’s short-ball plan eventually bringing reward when Elgar misjudged a pull and was caught on the fine-leg boundary by Mustafizur off Shubasish Roy’s bowling for 113.