Markram half-century helps South Africa off to good start

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Aiden Markram (94, 150b, 15×4) did not get the century on his home ground, he richly deserved, Hashim Amla (82, 155b, 14×4) also did not get the hundred he should have.

Virender Sehwag yesterday stated that Virat Kohli "should drop himself" if he fails in the second Test against South Africa, launching a scathing attack on the India skipper for his team selection.

The young opener said South Africa will be looking to put up a good score with Faf du Plessis still at the crease.

The bowler, Hardik Pandya, reacted quickly though and his speed to the ball, swivel and quick release to the bowlers' end found Amla two feet short.

But what did confuse many is whether we will see Parthiv Patel and KL Rahul come into the playing XI for the second Test, starting Saturday.

# A great crowd at SuperSport Park. "What India do outside the field will be as important as on it", he told Hindustan Times. India need just 208 runs to win the Cape Town test in their first encounter against Proteas but poor batting performance by India batsmen which cause them 72 runs defeat. He took 13 wickets in a test against England at the venue two years ago.

In contrast, his opening partner Dean Elgar (26*) continues to struggle to find fluency in his game in 2018. There are three candidates - two out-and-out pace specialists in Duanne Olivier and Lungi Ngidi or Chris Morris who has batting skills as well as the ability to bowl at more than 140 kmh. Just before lunch, Markram drove and pulled Pandya for consecutive fours and the next ball scampered a single to take him to 50.

Ashwin too probed Elgar, and in the 24th over, had a caught-behind appeal turned down. Trying a late cut against Ashwin, he was caught behind with the ball hitting the pad to change direction and end up in Patel's gloves. Ashwin had been creating problems for Elgar with his changes of speed and the bounce he was getting, and a mad dash down the track resulted in a mistimed shot into Vijay's midriff which he held onto after a juggle. That was Amla's first life. There was to be no century. He grabs his chances every time he comes into the team. The final session helped bring India back into the game, with four wickets falling in it for 87 runs.

With the first Test completed inside nine sessions on a wicket that gave the fast bowlers plenty to work with, there had been concerns the strips at Centurion and the Wanderers (for the third Test) would provide similar results. The letdowns were Bumrah (0/57 in 18 overs) and Shami (46 in 11 overs).

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