Aiden Markram, cruelly denied a hundred on debut by a run-out last time out, passed the magic milestone in Bloemfontein as the Proteas went to tea on 256-1.
Elgar was the man to fall, just two overs before tea, when he misjudged a hook and top-edged to fine leg. His concentration against a shoddy Bangladesh performance had obviously waned, for four overs earlier a similar shot had been gloved high above the keeper, who did well to get a hand to it, but could not hold on. Elgar ended on 113, off 152 balls (17×4); a strike rate just short of 75.
But the focus was more on Markram’s milestone. It was richly deserved, and it was notable that there were no quick singles exchanged in the build-up with his partner Elgar to the moment. The debutant had been on 97 in Potchefstroom when Elgar, then on 99, called and then rejected a single, which left the youngster in no-man’s land.
In Bloemfontein, Markram, who has just turned 23, had started fairly slowly in comparison to his more experienced partner – who had a moment of his own when he became the first batsman to pass 1 000 Test runs in 2017 – but he picked up the pace after lunch to run neck and neck with Elgar, once again showing his immaculate ability, driving straight, or to the offside.
His maiden hundred had come off 141 balls, with 16 fours. His first fifty had taken 84 balls (8×4); the second off 60 (8×4).
The two went into tea with Markram on 135 and Hashim Amla on one. At lunch, Markram had been on 54.
Once again, Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and elected to bowl. And once again the Proteas openers took the game by the scruff of the neck and rapidly strangled the life out of the visitors.
The rapid deterioration of the Bangladeshis and the improvement of the Proteas was best measured by the fact that the first hundred came off 145 balls; the second off 105. Of the first 200 runs, 124 had come from boundaries (31 fours).
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images