An opening stand of 243 in 54 overs by Dean Elgar and Aiden Markram set the tone for the Proteas on day one against Bangladesh.
The Proteas closed on a massive 428-3 with Hashim Amla on 89 and Faf du Plessis on 62.
The day’s play has followed a similar pattern to that of the first Test in Potchefstroom: Once again Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and put the Proteas in to bat; once again their bowlers proved to be wholly inadequate for the task and the Proteas batsmen were given free rein. The visitors went off-script in an eight-over spell either side of tea when they took three wickets for 45 runs. One was a good one, two weren’t; but that was a good as it got.
The essence of sport is a contest, and this was not a contest. The Proteas rattled up an almost pedestrian 126-0 at lunch at 4.3 an over, and pushed on to 256-1 at tea at 4.6, never being tested. The wicket was that of Elgar, who has only himself to blame for an injudicious pull off Subashis Roy, which he top-edged to fine leg. Just four overs earlier he had gloved one high above wicketkeeper Liton Das, who did well to get a hand to it, but he couldn’t hold on.
Elgar had taken the senior role in the morning session, outscoring his 23-year-old partner 71-54 – and in the process became the first batsman to 1 000 Test runs in 2017 – but the roles changed in the second session as Markram accelerated. They were neck and neck in the race to a hundred, which Elgar won by a short head, at a strike rate of just under 75; shortly followed by Markram off 141 balls (16×4) at a rate of 76.88. It was a milestone warmly received. He should have got it in the first Test, but was disappointingly run out on 97.
Markram had moved on to 143 three overs after tea when he got one of the few great deliveries of the day, an inswinger from Rubel Hossain, which raced through the gate and took away his middle stump.
He could do little about that, but Bavuma will regret the shot he played to a rising delivery from Subashis, edging comfortably to the keeper, having scored seven.
Whereupon it was business as usual as Amla and Du Plessis added 140 before the close. The run rate in the evening session was 5.12.
The only question is, when will the Proteas declare? 600? Rain is expected on Saturday, but the rest of the scheduled days are clear. Whether five days will be needed is another question.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images