Aiden Markram helped South Africa race to a strong start before the West Indies fought back on the first day of the second Test in Johannesburg on Wednesday. Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, however, picked up three wickets as South Africa closed on 311 for 7, having slipped from their formidable teatime position of 247 for 2.
Markram (96) and Tony de Zorzi (85) were mainly responsible for South Africa’s healthy position before the hosts struggled after the second interval. Five wickets fell while only 63 runs were added in 27.2 overs before the close. Jason Holder bowled a tight spell after tea and claimed the wicket of South African captain Temba Bavuma, who played no shot and was leg before wicket for 28 to a ball which cut back sharply.
De Zorzi, playing in his second Test, batted fluently to be on 75 off 124 deliveries at tea but could add only another 10 runs off 31 balls before he was bowled by Motie. He was drawn forward and beaten by a flighted delivery which spun back and hit the top of his off stump. Motie finished the day with 3 for 75.
Ryan Rickelton was caught behind for 22 off Alzarri Joseph and Kyle Mayers claimed two wickets with the second new ball late in the day, bowling Wiaan Mulder and having Simon Harmer caught behind.
Motie earlier had Dean Elgar caught at short fine leg for 42 off a ball which was outside the left-hander’s leg stump, then denied Markram a second century in successive matches when Markram attempted a scoop shot.
The ball looped off his bat and Jermaine Blackwood ran around from slip to leg slip to hold the catch. Markram had been in imperious form, striking 17 boundaries off 139 balls.
Elgar and Markram put on 76 for the first wicket after Bavuma won the toss and chose to bat on an unusually docile Wanderers pitch.
At a venue with a tradition for pace and bounce, a dry surface gave some assistance to the spin bowlers on the first day, seemingly justifying South Africa’s decision to choose two spinners.
De Zorzi joined Markram in a free-scoring second-wicket partnership of 116 off 164 balls for the second wicket. The West Indies regained a measure of control after Markram’s dismissal, with De Zorzi and Bavuma batting at a more sedate pace before tea.
Then, in a pattern similar to the first day of the first Test at Centurion, the West Indies dominated the last session.
South Africa 311 for 7 (Aiden Markram 96, Tony de Zorzi 85; Gudakesh Motie 3 for 75) vs West Indies