Markram in­spires Ti­tans to vic­tory

Pretoria News - - SPORT - Stuart Hess at the Wan­der­ers Highveld Li­ons 205/7 Ti­tans 206/6 Ti­tans won by four wick­ets

AI­DEN Markam turned what had been a bowlers day into com­fort­able vic­tory for the vis­it­ing Ti­tans team, scor­ing his sec­ond cen­tury in a week in the One-Day Cup yes­ter­day.

Bats­men had strug­gled all day on a sur­face where the ball didn’t come onto the bat, and they were made to force the pace. The Highveld Li­ons bats­men didn’t come to terms with it un­til the last five overs of their in­nings, and it took Markram and the Ti­tans bat­ting line-up some time to come to terms with the lack of pace as well. But Markram, who missed a big chunk of the sea­son with a frac­tured fin­ger, picked up while field­ing in the Box­ing Day Test against Eng­land, has given ev­ery in­di­ca­tion that he is ready to re­sume du­ties in the green and gold with a pair of cen­turies in his first four matches for the Ti­tans since re­turn­ing from in­jury. “Some balls re­ally held in the wicket, and any bowler rolling his fin­gers over the ball, re­ally got it to turn, “Markram said later about the Wan­der­ers pitch.

While his first hun­dred last Sun­day came on a “road” in Kim­ber­ley against the Knights, Markram had to work a lot harder yes­ter­day. The Ti­tans found them­selves in early trou­ble los­ing two wick­ets in­side the first 10 overs, and when Dean El­gar de­parted at the start of the 12th over, they were 25/3 and des­per­ately needed a part­ner­ship.

Markram ad­mit­ted there were plenty of nerves in the Ti­tans dress­ing-room at that stage.

For­tu­nately, the Ti­tans’ cap­tain Grant Thomson was able to pro­vide Markram with sup­port and the pair started putting the Li­ons bowlers un­der pres­sure by tak­ing a few cal­cu­lated risks, hit­ting the ball in the air, as they in­creased the scor­ing rate. The stand was worth 119 runs, and eased the nerves in the away dress­ing-room.

Even in dif­fi­cult con­di­tions, Markram still pro­duced some el­e­gant stroke-play. He grad­u­ally in­creased his scor­ing as he came to terms with the na­ture of the pitch and brought up his hun­dred off the 108th ball of his in­nings. He was dis­missed off the 109th, try­ing to fin­ish the game quickly and slogging a short ball from Wi­han Lubbe to Do­minic Hen­dricks at deep mid-wicket fol­low­ing an in­nings that in­cluded 11 fours and a six. Hen­dricks had top scored for the Li­ons with 45 in an in­nings in which all the bats­men strug­gled and the hosts needed a 49-run stand for the eighth wicket be­tween Malusi Si­boto (30 not out) and Bjorn For­tuin (18 not out) to lend their to­tal some re­spectabil­ity.

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