I’m more than happy with 97 – Markram

Aiden Markram of the Proteas celebrates half century  (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Aiden Markram of the Proteas celebrates half century (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Aiden Markram has focused on the positives rather than the disappointment of missing out on a Test century on debut, after a dominant opening day of the first Sunfoil Test match against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom on Thursday. The 22-year-old came three runs short of becoming the seventh South African to score a hundred on debut, but was involved in a mix-up which led to his run-out on 97 and the end to a fairy tale start to international cricket.

“ I’m more than happy to take it,” he said of his innings at stumps, with South Africa on 298/1. “ Had you asked me if I would take 97 last night I would have taken it with open arms, I’m more than happy with the 97.

“I’ve never really looked at the game from a selfish perspective,” he admitted. “ I think I wanted it so badly for him (Elgar) that I got caught in no-man’s land. It is part of the game, you have to take it on the chin and move on. He was extremely upset. Dean and I have come a long way, we have developed a good friendship as well. It was tough for him, a bitter pill to swallow. I told him at tea that he needs to kick on for the team’s sake, that is all that matters. He has put himself in a great position to do so.”

Markram showed the temperament of a career veteran during the 196-run opening partnership with Elgar, who remains unbeaten on 128. The pair have opened together on a few occasions at franchise level since Markram’s Titans debut last season, and seemed to ebb and flow with ease during an outstanding stand.

Elgar became the Proteas’ leading Test run-scorer in the calendar year with 895 runs at an average of 52.64, and has been a consistent cog and leader of the batting line-up during tough situations this year. Markram says the squad has taken a lot of encouragement from Elgar’s gutsy nature and inspiring contributions throughout the season, which have become synonymous with the fighting left-hander.

“We have massive respect,” he said of Elgar. “ It’s never easy for an opening batsman to bat out a full day. That is your goal, very rarely do I set myself a goal of how many runs I’m going to get, it’s more of a time goal. The longer you bat, the easier it becomes and the team gets into a stronger position.

“You have to take your hat off to the innings that Dean played. I’m incredibly happy for him for scoring another hundred. Knowing the kind of person he is, he really would like to kick on tomorrow. He has a very hard personality, he is a proper fighter as we have all seen.

“It reflects in his cricket; he is the guy that puts his hand up when times are incredibly tough. He doesn’t score his runs when it’s easy, he scores them when it’s tough, that helps a side. He is leading by example, he is a leader in the side and we are incredibly happy for him for being the leading run-scorer this year.”

Elgar (128) and Hashim Amla (68) will resume the innings when play starts at 10h00 on Friday.