After South Africa dominated the first two periods of the second Test on Day 1 in Johannesburg on Wednesday, quick strikes in the final session enabled West Indies to mount a comeback (March 8). Aiden Markram (96) and Tony de Zorzi (85), who opened the innings with a 76-run partnership, laid the groundwork for a substantial total with a 116-run partnership. De Zorzi and Temba Bavuma shared a partnership of 50 runs for the third wicket, but West Indies came back with five wickets after tea. The hosts are still in a strong situation, though, playing on a dry Wanderers track that is anticipated to help the bowlers more in the coming days, having reached 311/7 at Stump’s.
Elgar and Markram opened the day by hitting 12 fours between them in the 15 overs that were played. The South African openers were mainly unaffected by the West Indian bowlers’ lack of discipline, with the exception of a few deliveries from Kemar Roach that hit Markram in the pads. Markram and Elgar appeared to be in a race, and by the end of the first hour, Elgar had more runs, as there wasn’t much on offer for the bowlers.
Elgar top-edged a sweep, and Roston Chase made an excellent catch at short fine leg to dismiss the left-hander for 42, leading to the breakthrough of Gudakesh Motie, who was put into the eleven in place of Shannon Gabriel. The removal had no effect on Markram’s strategy as he hit his tenth four, off Chase, to reach a fifty in 68 balls. In order to help the second-wicket duo extend their stand past 50 before lunch, De Zorzi also had a busy start, hitting a few boundaries.
After lunch, South Africa’s effective batting, which was the highlight of the first session, continued as Markram produced some exquisite strokes and also took the brunt of the short deliveries by regularly hitting fours. De Zorzi was offering helpful assistance from the other end as they quickly raised a century partnership to give South Africa a solid advantage. The stand reached 116 when Markram, looking good for his seventh Test tonne, fell four short of it when he tried a paddle shot off Gudakesh Motie.
De Zorzi reached his first Test fifty by hitting an Alzarri Joseph ball behind square on the off side for a four. De Zorzi had scores of 28 and 0 on the first Test. Bavuma also established limits early on and forged a strong alliance with de Zorzi, who was eager to seize any opportunity. The only time West Indies succeeded in limiting scoring was a seven-over stretch before the Tea break, when South Africa went without a boundary, underscoring their general ineffectiveness with the ball throughout the two periods.
But Holder opened the doors for them as they returned after the Refreshment break. In the first two sessions, the former skipper of the West Indies bowled with discipline and was the most economical of all. When Bavuma raised his arms and became trapped in front for 28 seconds, he eventually found his reward. A promising partnership between Ryan Rickelton and de Zorzi was interrupted when the latter was bowled by Motie while trying a drive. A short while later, Rickelton was overtaken by Joseph, putting South Africa five down.
The second new ball, which West Indies chose to use an over after it should have, was hit by Kyle Mayers, who caused one of them to shape back into Mulder so that he could slip through the bat-pad gap. In the last over before Stumps, Mayers also scored, forcing Simon Harmer to tip to the keeper. West Indies pulled it back in the final session, chipping away steadily and allowing only 64 runs in 27.2 overs after giving up 247 in the first two at a rate of almost 4.