Markram misses ton but South Africa prosper

Markram misses ton but South Africa prosper

South Africa, riding on a fine show by Aiden Markram, made a solid start on the first day of the second Test against India at the SuperSport Park here on Saturday.

Markram was dismissed for 94 as the hosts made 182 for two at tea. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took both the wickets for India, who toiled hard on a pitch which looked pretty flat.

Markram looked hardly in any trouble and seemed set for a third Test century but he was caught behind trying to guide Ashwin to third man.

Markram and Dean Elgar (31) put on 85 for the first wicket before Elgar was caught by Murali Vijay at silly point off Ashwin.

Hashim Amla was batting on 35 along with A B de Villiers (16) at tea.

Earlier, in ideal conditions for batting, South Africa raised 78 for no loss in 27 overs at lunch.

Faf du Plessis won the toss again and not surprisingly decided to bat first. Virat Kohli too said he would have liked to bat first after sounding puzzled at the way the pitch had changed in the last two days.

India effected three changes to their side, expectedly bringing in K L Rahul for Shikhar Dhawan and choosing Parthiv Patel in place of the injured wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha. Ishant Sharma coming in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was their most successful bowler in Newlands, may have surprised some but it was a perfectly justifiable decision given the conditions.

With not much swing in the air and little movement off the pitch, Bhuvneshwar, who doesn't have either the pace or bounce to trouble the batsmen, would have been a lot less effective here. And as it turned out, Ishant was the only bowler who looked the part creating doubts in batsmen's minds with surprise lifters. He was the only bowler who looked like taking a wicket as Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami and Hardik Pandya struggled to keep the two batsmen to keep quiet in the second hour of the session.

Having limped their way to 36 for no loss in 14 overs at first drinks break, South Africa batsmen, especially Markram, stepped on the gas. The conditions demanding high discipline, but the Indian pacers failed to put three balls in the good areas on a consistent basis, encouraging the cautious batsmen to open up.

Brief scores: South Africa 1st innings: 182/2 in 56 overs (Aiden Markram 94, H Amla 35 batting; R Ashwin 2/53).

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