Ken Borland

By Ken Borland


Little satisfaction for centurion Markram after Proteas lose series

The South African opening batsman said it "hurt" to come close to pulling off a surprise win in the second Test against Pakistan.

Aiden Markram had a brilliant maiden century on the subcontinent to point at, but it was clear the Proteas opening batsman was deriving little pleasure from it after South Africa collapsed against Pakistan’s new-ball attack to lose the second Test by 95 runs in Rawalpindi on Monday.

While seated at the virtual press conference after the close of play, Markram said: “I wish I was still out there now getting the job done.”

While Markram was at the crease, it seemed the Proteas could perhaps still chase down a record target of 370 to level the two-match series, and the Proteas were well-placed at 238 for three, with Markram on 107 and Temba Bavuma on 56 when Pakistan took the second new ball as soon as it became available after 80 overs.

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But the second over with the new ball saw Markram poking Hasan Ali to second slip, ending his five-and-a-half hour landmark innings on 108 off 243 balls, an impressive knock that saw South Africa fight their way very much back into contention.

Armed with a new ball and the middle-order to bowl at, Hasan and Shaheen Shah Afridi stormed through the rest of the batting line-up as the Proteas lost their last seven wickets for just 33 runs.

“Ultimately we are all highly competitive so to lose the game and the series really eats at you, far more than one or two individual performances that might have gone right for you. So I’m certainly feeling more hurt than satisfaction right now,” Markram said despite being comfortably the highest-run-scorer in the series.

“It seems like just when we start making good progress, when we get ahead, we give it away. It’s time for us to learn and stop making the same mistakes.

“We have to appreciate in the subcontinent getting in is really tough because of the nature of the conditions, so wickets can fall in clusters. You need to keep your mind nice and calm and clear, get through those first 20-30 balls to settle the nerves. Obviously our mood is pretty down now.”

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While Markram’s partnership with Rassie van der Dussen (48) was broken in the first over of the day by Hasan, his 106-run stand for the fourth wicket with Bavuma (61) was the source of much optimism for the Proteas.

“Obviously it was a big target we had to chase and we just tried to break it down into smaller targets. We always knew that if we were still batting at tea then we would have a real chance. The coaches just told us to not be scared to go out and win the game, to have no fear, and just express ourselves,” Markram said.

“For me I’ve been able to take a lot of learning from these two Test matches having had struggles in the subcontinent against spin in the past. It’s been nice to almost learn on the job. But it’s never nice to lose a series and it definitely leaves a bitter taste.”

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