Aiden Markram says Faf du Plessis is responsible for adding ruthlessness to the Proteas’ team ethos.
The hosts posted 313-6 on day one of the fourth Test against Australia at the Wanderers, with Markram scoring a career-best 152.
His performance made up for shaky knocks from Dean Elgar (19), Hashim Amla (27) and Faf du Plessis (nought) and put the Proteas in a commanding position.
Markram’s knock was ruthless with a dash of class, an approach Du Plessis had requested in his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
‘I try to get into a bubble, which is like a [calm] space for me. I suppose each person is different. Faf addressed it quite a bit going into the game and that we really need to keep the focus on this game,’ said Markram on Friday.
‘Credit to him for the great leader he is and keeping the guys aware of things like that. It’s easy for guys to go on their own merry way with a game left.
‘He’s instilled ruthlessness in the side. Hopefully, with four days to go, it will put us in a good position.’
Markram praised the Australia bowlers, particularly debutant Chadd Sayers, who dismissed AB de Villiers for 69.
‘Generally, you associate an Australian bowling lineup with a lot of pace and energy, but it did not make it any easier today,’ he said.
‘Just because Chadd is not as fast as Mitchell Starc doesn’t make him any less of a bowler. He posed a lot of danger out there.
‘We saw the few spells he bowled when AB and myself got that partnership going. He bowled well today and it’s a wicket that really suits the way he bowls.’
Tim Paine admitted that his bowlers struggled against Markram and congratulated the 23-year-old for the way he approached his innings.
‘He played superbly again, he’s played really well throughout the whole series,’ said the Australia captain. ‘I thought we bowled well to him at times, we just struggled to stop him scoring. Credit to him.
‘I thought the wicket had enough in it. He played and missed a few times and we couldn’t quite get the nick. Anything loose, he jumped all over.
‘He’s a really good player and I’m sure he will score a lot of runs for South Africa.’
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