Proteas on top at Bull­ring

AF­TER OPENER MADE 90, SA LOST SEVEN WICK­ETS FOR 33 RUNS Proteas bowlers will have to strike back quickly to­day.

The Citizen (KZN) - - FRONT PAGE - Ken Bor­land

Ai­den Markram paid credit to the Pak­istan bowlers for their out­stand­ing come­back on the first day of the third Test at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day, but ad­mit­ted be­ing bowled out for 262 was an un­der-par ef­fort by the South African bats­men, who will now need their bowlers to bail them out.

Markram him­self was blame­less for the col­lapse that saw the Proteas lose their last seven wick­ets for 33 runs, scor­ing a daz­zling 90 off just 124 balls be­fore he was caught down the leg side off pace­man Fa­heem Ashraf. At that stage South Africa were 132/2 and Hashim Amla, The­u­nis de Bruyn and debu­tant Zubayr Hamza all made for­ties as the home side cruised to tea on 226/2.

But Mo­ham­mad Amir (15.42-36-2) and Mo­ham­mad Ab­bas (18-6-44-2) bowled su­perbly in tan­dem to spark the dra­matic col­lapse.

“You have to give credit to the Pak­istan bowlers, they bowled re­ally well and Amir was able to make things hap­pen. They made it dif­fi­cult to score and bowled in very good chan­nels, the bats­men had to play. There was also a bit more zip in the af­ter­noon, a bit of tail and they put more into the wicket. It was also quite tricky in the first half-hour, but then the pitch was a bit slow,” said Markram

“We would have liked some­one to get a three-fig­ure score, a few of us had op­por­tu­ni­ties, so that was dis­ap­point­ing as well,” Markram said af­ter SA had re­duced Pak­istan to 17/2 at stumps thanks to wick­ets in suc­ces­sive balls by Ver­non Phi­lan­der.

Twice in just over a week, Markram has looked in ab­so­lute com­mand against the tal­ented Pak­istan at­tack only to be dis­missed in un­for­tu­nate fash­ion.

“To­day was prob­a­bly the best I’ve moved and when I’m in the frame of mind to score that’s when I seem to move well. You want in­ten­sity as well and then in­stinct seems to take over,” Markram said.

He cer­tainly did that by stroking 16 fours yes­ter­day, many of them through the most sump­tu­ous drives through the cov­ers or straight down the ground.

The 24-year-old, who has now scored 1 220 runs in his first 26 Test in­nings at an av­er­age of 46.92, made it look ridicu­lously easy yes­ter­day, but still had some advice for the less ex­pe­ri­enced bats­men by telling them to ex­pect some tough times in Test cricket in South Africa.

“I told some of the younger guys that we’re go­ing to have such good quick bowlers for a long time so they bet­ter get used to play­ing on very chal­leng­ing pitches.

“It would be silly not to pre­pare pitches that as­sist our at­tack, so us bats­men have to find a way to score runs on them,” said Markram.

Pic­ture: Gallo Images

SO CLOSE. Proteas opener Ai­den Markram scored a solid 90 on the open­ing day of the third Test against Pak­istan at the Wan­der­ers yes­ter­day.

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