South Africa’s opening batsman Aiden Markram was in full flow during the first day of the second Test against India at SuperSport Park Centurion. The right-hander made a fluent 94 with 15 boundaries before being dismissed by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Even though the 23-year-old missed a chance to score his third Test ton, Markram is pretty pleased with the way Indian captain Virat Kohli consoled him when he was making his way back to the pavilion.
“He came across and said, ‘Well played, you were unlucky to get out.’ It was a great touch from him. He is a massive competitor as everyone sees on the TV, but it’s great to see that he has got good values that people off the field might not see. It was a great gesture and it meant a lot,” Markram said while addressing the media in the post-match press conference.
South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bat first in the brownish looking Centurion pitch. Markram along with his fellow opener Dean Elgar ensured that the home team don’t lose a wicket in the first session. It was Ashwin who gave India the breakthrough by removing Elgar when the score was reading 85.
Looking at way Ashwin got assistance from the pitch, Markram said the Proteas camp were surprised by it.
“We didn’t expect there to be so much assistance for him. Ashwin was difficult to face. He is difficult to face on a flat wicket as well, so it did work out well for him I suppose,” he said.
“He still had to bowl well so you need to give him some credit. It will be interesting to see if the pitch will get harder and if it will continue to spin like it did, or if it spun like that because of the grass covering. We’ll see in the next couple of days,” the young opener further added.
Markram, who is still in his early days, also admitted that playing Ashwin was a good challenge.
“Ashwin is a world class bowler. He always asking the right questions and he sets smart fields. It is not easy out there. I don’t think he would have expected to bowl as much today judging on how last week went. They would have expected something similar. But he is a world-class bowler and it was a good challenge to get out there and face him,” he said.
Markram concluded by expressing his disappointment on missing out on another hundred.