JOHANNESBURG, October 6 – Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram provided the 11th instance of a South African opening partnership of more than 200 runs to set up the Proteas for a commanding opening day at 428/3 in the second Sunfoil Test match against Bangladesh at the Mangaung Oval, in Bloemfontein, on Friday.
The final stand of 243 was South Africa’s eighth highest of all time and was the first time that both opening batsmen scored centuries since Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie shared a stand of 204 at Lord’s in 2008.
Elgar, who has had a strong year of Test cricket, completed his 1 000 Test runs for the calendar year with five centuries and by scoring his 10th Test century overall, became the ninth Protea batsman to achieve a double digit total of Test centuries.
At the other end of the scale Markram made up for his near miss in the previous match with his maiden Test match century.
What was even more impressive was the run rate they established that the Proteas maintained throughout the day. Their partnership required little more than 53 overs before Elgar was dismissed (113 off 152 balls, 17 fours). Markram, in turn, went on to finish on 143 (186 balls, 22 fours) as both batsmen had strike rates well in excess of 70.
The Proteas scored 126 in the first session, 130 in the second and a further 172 in the slightly extended final session. The Proteas were once again sent in to bat with Hashim Amla (89 off 99 balls, 12 fours) and Faf du Plessis (62 off 92 balls, 6 fours) having so far added an unbroken 140 for the fourth wicket.
It was a day in which the revamped Bangladesh attack took the best part of the first two sessions to either come up with an effective strategy or employ it effectively. They eventually caused a few problems with some short-pitched bowling to a well-set field, but it only provided temporary relief until Amla and Du Plessis put their collective feet on the accelerator pedal.