South Africa vs West Indies 1st Test Day 1

Aiden Markram scored a commanding century on a fascinating first day in Centurion, South Africa before the West Indies surged back into the contest with late wickets. SA went to Stumps on Day 1 at a more modest 314/8 after coasting at 221/1 at one stage.

Choosing to bat, South Africa’s openers were largely unaffected by the new ball against the new ball and went on to add 141 for the first wicket on what Shaun Pollock deemed to be the “best first-day pitch at SuperSport Park in at least 10 years,” according to Pollock. Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram, both of whom entered this contest with something to show, were crucial to the hosts’ success. Elgar, who was recently relieved of his captaincy following a lackluster performance in Australia, reached a fifty in the early session, his 23rd in Tests and fifth at the location. Later in the afternoon, Markram, who returned to the team under Temba Bavuma’s leadership, scored his sixth hundred and appeared to be in good shape at the other end.

In the morning session, South Africa gained 99 runs and steadily increased its comfort level. In the second session, they added 107 runs as West Indies, who were excellent with the one-off delivery, found it difficult to string together their strong deliveries. The only batter to be dismissed in the afternoon practise was Elgar, who was dropped at third slip by Jermaine Blackwood on 10 after uppercutting to third man and falling to the short ball trap that had been in place since the morning. The 25-year-old debutant Tony de Zorzi played well in his first appearance, adding 80 runs for the second wicket before being run out by Tagenarine Chanderpaul’s incisive throw.

The game turned after that run out; South Africa lost their following six wickets for just 79 runs. The first player to react to the runout was Alzarri Joseph, who had previously selected Elgar. He caught the new captain Temba Bavuma in front for a two-ball duck in the same over. When Markram reached 115, he returned to bowl him with a precise yorker, and the other bowlers joined in. Heinrich Klaasen was caught at mid-on by Shannon Gabriel on a ball that had picked up speed since the morning. Senuran Muthusamy was caught in front by Kemar Roach after three overs. In addition, Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder contributed one wicket each as South Africa quickly fell from 221/1 to 271/7. On the other hand, newcomers Gerald Coetzee and Marco Jansen will be crucial on day two after both batted well in their respective 17* innings.