As they did in the first Test, Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram stamped their authority on the match in Bloemfontein, going into lunch on 126-0.
Having been sent in to bat after losing the toss, as they were in the first Test, the two openers were untested through the morning session of 29 overs. One or two nipped through dangerously, but never could the experience be described as ‘torrid’. Elgar went to lunch on 72, and Markram, in his second Test, on 54.
Once again, Mushfiqur Rahim tested logic with his bowling changes. In Potchefstroom, he brought on his spinner after six overs. Here in Bloemfontein he quickly ran through four bowlers in six overs: he gave his opening strike-pair two overs each and showed little confidence in Subashis Roy, who missed the first Test. His second over went for 15 runs, including three fours, the last of which, a straight drive, made Dean Elgar the first batsman to 1 000 runs in 2017, coming in 11 Tests.
Subashis was replaced immediately. He was one of three bowling changes; also out was the hapless spinner Mehidy Hasan, as well as Taskin and Shafiul. Rubel Hossain and left-arm spinner Taijul Islam were the other replacements.
Hossain was only slightly more successful than Subashis, in that he went for 23 in his first spell of five overs, but at least the captain had the decency to wait until the 16th over before he brought on Taijul.
The change in pace did nothing to stop the flow, and when lunch was called, the spinner had conceded 36 runs from his seven overs. Only Mustafizur Rahman had gone for fewer than four an over (2.16 to be precise), but he had been given only six overs.
The Proteas openers brought up the first fifty in 77 balls, of which Elgar contributed 37. Between them they shared nine fours, most beautifully driven off balls delivered into the perfect slot. The second fifty came off 67 balls, with Markram beginning to accelerate. By lunch, they had accumulated 21 boundaries.
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