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West Indies fight back after Aiden Markram Century for South Africa Sport-rated




Aiden Markram turned a century on his return to Test cricket, but the West Indies put up a strong fight on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Tuesday. Markram made 115 in South Africa’s total of 314 for eight. Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph spearheaded the West Indies bowling attack, taking three for 60. South Africa looked set to take full control as they got to 221 for one after new captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and decided to bat.

But they lost a further seven wickets before close while adding another 93 runs, and the West Indies bowlers found swing, lateral movement and more consistency with the old ball.

An opening partnership of 141 between Markram and former captain Dean Elgar (71) was followed by a standing 80 between Markram and new cap Tony de Zorzi. The lefty De Zorzi looked comfortable before running out for 28.

De Zorzi hit a ball from Joseph through the covers and completed two comfortable runs.

Tagearine Chanderpaul made a good sliding save and De Zorzi was sent off after coming off for an improbable third.

Chanderpaul’s shot went wide, but goalkeeper Joshua Da Silva deftly flicked the ball into the stumps.

Bavuma, in his first appearance as South Africa’s first black African captain, was leg before the wicket for nothing to a full ball from Joseph two balls later and Joseph struck again as Markram made York.

Markram was dropped last year following a slump in which he went 15 innings without a half-century, with just two scores above 30. He hadn’t made a hundred since scoring 108 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in February 2021.

After a watchful start, he soon picked up his stride, hitting 18 fours in a 174-ball innings, studded by his trademark coverage attacks and powerful stripping shots.

Elgar, who was stripped of the captaincy after South Africa, was hit hard on tours of England and Australia, making 71 of 118 balls.

Two of Elgar’s 11 fours were ramp shots over the slips, but trying to hit a third boundary that way, he fell to a jumping catch from Jermaine Blackwood to the third man in front of Joseph.

Blackwood previously seized a great opportunity on Kyle Mayers’ third slip when he was at 10.

The South African side showed five changes from the team that played in the third Test of a losing series in Australia in January with De Zorzi and fast bowler Gerald Coetzee both playing their first caps.

The West Indies made a change from the team that beat Zimbabwe by one innings and four runs in Bulawayo earlier this month.

Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, who took 13 wickets in the win at Bulawayo, had a back injury and was replaced by fast bowler Kemar Roach.

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