Jacques van der Westhuyzen

By Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Aiden Markram says 106 at Newlands built on ‘winging it and gut feel’

India won the match against South Africa inside two days to square the series 1-1.

Only one man was able to tame the Newland pitch and the fast bowling — South Africa’s Aiden Markram, and then he needed some good luck to go his way as well.

In a Test match that lasted just over four sessions and was over just after lunch on day two on Thursday, to be the shortest played in terms of balls bowled all-time, Markram stood tall with the bat when wickets were tumbling around him.

The Proteas opener scored a scintillating 106 off 103 balls in his second time at the crease in the second Test against India at Newlands, helping his side to a total of 176 in their second innings after being bundled out in the first session of play for 55 in their first knock on Wednesday.

India replied with 153 all out, for a 96-run lead, but it could have been a whole lot more had they not lost their last six wickets for nought in 11 deliveries. Rohit Sharma’s men then chased down the modest target of 79 in the early afternoon on Thursday to draw the two-match series.

‘Challenging for batters’

Markram, while pleased with his seventh Test century, admitted he rode a wave of good fortune during his second innings.

“It ranks up there,” he said of his knock that included 16 fours and two sixes. “But, to be honest, I can’t remember the previous ones really, it’s been a while.

“Also, normally it means more when you do well as a team so that holds it back.”

The opening batter said he tried to be as positive as he could be in trying conditions. The pitch produced inconsistent bounce and played far quicker than was expected.

“In terms of the track it was quite challenging for the batters, but both sets of bowlers performed incredibly well and used the conditions superbly,” said Markram.

“I tried to be as positive as I could be. I’m not too sure why I succeeded (and the others didn’t) but you also need some good fortune on a wicket like that. I played and missed a bit, and I got dropped as well (by India wicket-keeper KL Rahul when he was on 73).

“It also got easier for me when they started to spread the field. You sort of had to wing it out there, go with your gut feel a lot of the time.”

150 target

While India won the match by seven wickets, having chased down their target of 79 quite comfortably on Thursday, Markram said a target of 150 would have made things interesting.

“If we could have squeezed out 150 (and not 55) in our first innings maybe it would have been a tighter game, but it wasn’t our day in the first innings. Some guys were caught down leg, some were chopping on, and edging everything. We made it difficult for ourselves to come back from there.

“Had we set a target of about 150 today I think we would have been in the game. It would have been difficult to chase.”

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