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SA v BAN, 1st Test, Day 1 Review: Dean Elgar hundred, fifties from Amla and Markram makes it South Africa’s day

Dean Elgar remained unbeaten on 128 and looks set to get a big one on Day 2.

Dean Elgar of the Proteas
Dean Elgar of the Proteas celebrates his 100. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

South Africa’s top order made sure that their team dominates the opening day of the first day Test against Bangladesh at Potchefstroom. Musfiqur Rahim might ponder over his decision to bowl first on a decent pitch before he goes to bed tonight. The visiting bowlers went wicketless during the entire course of Day 1 as the only wicket that fell was the unfortunate run-out of debutant Aiden Markram, just three runs short of a well-deserved debut century.

Solid opening stand, heartbreak for Markram

Dean Elgar enhanced his reputation as an opener by scoring his 9th Test ton, which was his fifth at home and fourth this year. His partnership with the debutant Markram was outstanding and the only blemish during their 326-ball stay at the wicket was the misjudgment of a run which cost Markram his wicket and with it, his maiden century just four balls prior to tea. Both openers added 196 runs for the first wicket to frustrate the Bangladesh bowlers. The 22-year old Markram, who was surprised at his selection, scored an attractive 152-ball 97 which included 13 fours.

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Very seldom does a debutant outscore a senior partner in international cricket. Elgar may have just played 39 Tests but has captained his country in a Test match and is a senior in every right in this Proteas set-up. Such was the quality of batting on display by Markram, who posted scores of 119 and 87 in the first-round of the domestic first-class matches. The sight of Markram leaving the field wasn’t too pleasing for the Rahim-led side as in walked Hashim Amla, a modern-day colossus. He eased into his innings and Amla never breaks into a sweat while batting.

Elgar’s bitter-sweet moment

Before tea was taken, just two balls after Markram’s run out, Elgar had reached three-figures but there were no massive celebrations. It was a bitter-sweet moment for the left-hander, who was gutted to deny his opening partner of not getting a debut hundred. The 30-year old’s hundred needed just 176 balls to complete but the southpaw went into a shell in the final session, scoring just 27 runs off 107 balls. While Amla did not face a ball in the second session, he made sure that South Africa’s scoring rate doesn’t suffer much post-tea and reached his half-century in style – by smacking Mehidy Hasan for a six which hit the sightscreen. His 36th Test fifty came off 79 balls and included 6 boundaries and a six.

The hosts were very watchful in the last ten overs of the day as only 22 runs came between overs number 80 and 90. Bangladesh were happy to not take the new ball until the end of the 86th over before Rahim decided to have a final shot at South Africa with the new cherry. He used three different bowlers with the new ball in a bid to get a wicket before stumps. But neither one of Mustafizur, Mehidy Hasan and and Shafiul Islam were able to breach the solidity of Amla and Elgar.

South Africa looking to drive home the advantage

The ball is just four overs old which makes the first hour very important for both sides tomorrow morning. Amla and Elgar, who are unbeaten on 128 and 68, will look to start afresh and convert their knocks into a big one. With du Plessis and de Kock to follow, the home side has a lot of batting to come hence the overnight batsmen could play freely after negotiating the initial half of the first session.

Bangladesh will have to produce something special to remain in contention in the game. After conceding 298 on the opening day, they don’t have a lot of margin for error. The likes of Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan will have to step up. Bangladesh definitely missed the services of Shakib Al Hasan today.

Brief Scores

South Africa – 298 for 1 in 90 overs (Dean Elgar 128*, Aiden Markram 97, Hashim Amla 68*)

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