Aiden Markram hit a century on his return to Test cricket but the West Indies mounted a strong fightback on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park on Tuesday. Markram made 115 in a South African total of 314 for eight. fast bowler Alzarri Joseph spearheaded the West Indian bowling attack, taking three for 60. South Africa looked set to take full control when they reached 221 for one after the new captain Temba Bavuma won the toss and decided to bat.
But they lost seven more wickets before the close while adding another 93 runs, with the West Indian bowlers finding swing, lateral movement and more consistency with the old ball.
An opening partnership of 141 between Markram and former captain Dean Elgar (71) was followed by a stand of 80 between Markram and the new cap Tony de Zorzi, The left-handed De Zorzi was looking comfortable before he was run out for 28.
De Zorzi punched a ball from Joseph through the covers and completed a comfortable two runs.
Tagerine Chanderpaul made a good sliding stop and De Zorzi was sent back after setting off for an unlikely third.
Chanderpaul’s throw was off target but wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva Cleverly flicked the ball into the stumps.
Bavuma, on his first appearance as South Africa’s first Black African captain, was leg before wicket for a full ball from Joseph two balls later and Joseph struck again when he yorked Markram.
Markram was dropped last year after a poor run of form in which he went 15 innings without a half-century, with only two scores above 30. He had not made a hundred since scoring 108 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in February 2021.
After a watchful start, he was soon into his stride, hitting 18 fours in a 174-ball innings, studded by his trademark cover drives and powerful pull shots.
Elgar, who was stripped of the captaincy after South Africa were heavily beaten on tours of England and Australia, made 71 off 118 balls.
Two of Elgar’s 11 fours were ramp shots over the slips but in trying to hit a third boundary in that fashion he fell to a leaping catch by Jermaine Blackwood at third man off Joseph.
Blackwood earlier put down a sharp chance at third slip off Kyle Myers when he was on 10.
The South African team showed five changes from the side that played in the third Test of a losing series in Australia in January with De Zorzi and fast bowler Gerald Coetzee both handed their first caps.
The West Indies made one change from the side that beat Zimbabwe by an innings and four runs in Bulawayo earlier this month.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, who took 13 wickets in the win in Bulawayo, had a back injury and was replaced by fast bowler Kemar Roach,
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