After a turbulent time, featuring bad form and multiple injuries, Aiden Markram appears rejuvenated to take his Test career to the next level. ANDRE HUISAMEN looks at his red-ball journey to date.
28 September 2017: Markram makes his Test debut in Potchefstroom where the Proteas face off against Bangladesh. In his very first innings Markram is run out for 97 after a big mix up with Dean Elgar in the middle.
6 October 2017: In the second clash against Bangladesh in Bloemfontein, Markram goes one better, bringing up his maiden Test century. He eventually departs for 143 as the Proteas seal a comfortable series win.
26 December 2017: Markram’s incredible breakthrough to Test cricket continues, reaching his second Test century against Zimbabwe on Boxing Day. In what was the first Day/Night game on South African soil, Markram hits 125, becoming the first Proteas batsman to hit two centuries in his first three Test matches.
January 2018: Markram faces his real first challenge as the Proteas take on India in three-Test series in South Africa. Immediately the right-hander is up against a stern test and despite making 94 in the first innings of the Centurion clash, he ends the series with scores of 5, 34, 1, 2, 4.
4 March 2018: In the highly-anticipated first clash against Australia in Durban, Markram stands tall, smashing a resilient 143 in a losing case against the visitors. The Proteas were bowled out the following day, handing Australia victory. Markram was also involved in a mix-up with AB de Villiers, who was run out by Nathon Lyon at a crucial stage of the second innings. It would mark the start of an unforgettable Test series.
24 March 2018: On a day that will forever be remembered for the ‘Sandpaper Gate’, Markram played a highly important knock that set the Proteas up for a big victory in Cape Town. His 84 at the top of the order provided the platform for the hosts to set Australia a mammoth target of 429 for victory.
30 March 2018: Markram adds insult to injury in the final Test of the series, producing a knock of the highest quality in Johannesburg. Markram kickstarts the Proteas innings with a classy 154, helping the South Africans to a first-innings score of 488 at the Wanderers. Markram finishes the series as the leading run scorer between the two teams, accumulating 480 runs across the four encounters.
July 2018: A Test series to Sri Lanka, however, provides Markram with a fresh set of challenges as he struggles against the subcontinent spin factor. The Proteas are outplayed in both Tests, Markram finishing with scores of 0, 19, 7 and 14 from the four innings.
October 2019: Having done fairly well with the bat in the Proteas’ previous two Test series, (Against Pakistan and Sri Lanka), Markram struggles during a daunting tour of India. The Proteas are outplayed in almost every aspect of the series. His struggles against spin continued, making scores of 5 and 39 in the first Test, while earning a pair in the second, resulting in him missing out in the third clash after a self-inflicted injury. Markram lashed out at an object in the change room after his poor performance, breaking his wrist in the process. He apologised via a Cricket South Africa statement and had to fly to Cape Town to consult a specialist.
December 2019: Markram is back in the Test squad for the important Test series against England. He hits 20 in the first innings and only two in the second but fractures his finger during a practice session, ruling him out for the remainder of the series.
28 January 2021: In another test battle on subcontinent conditions, Markram shows improvement against spin, scoring 74 in the second innings of the first Test against Pakistan. The Proteas batsmen struggle to cope with the variation of the Pakistan spinners, slumping to seven-wicket defeat.
8 February 2021: Markram again digs deep under difficult circumstances, battling his way to a brilliant century. The Proteas fall to another defeat but Markram stands tall with a knock of 108, ending the series with the most runs (227).
10 March 2021: Markram notches up his maiden first-class double century, hitting an unbeaten 204 for the Titans in their 4-Day Franchise Series match with the Knights.