Recent Match Report – South Africa vs West Indies 1st Test 2022/23 – NewsEverything Cricket

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Recent Match Report – South Africa vs West Indies 1st Test 2022/23 – NewsEverything Cricket
Recent Match Report – South Africa vs West Indies 1st Test 2022/23 – NewsEverything Cricket

South Africa 314 for 8 (Markram 115, Elgar 71, Joseph 3-60) vs West Indies

Aiden Markram celebrated his return to Test cricket in style notching up his sixth century but Alzarri Joseph‘s pacy three-wicket burst helped West Indies storm back into the contest late in the day. South Africa ended day one of the first Test on 314 for 8.

On a surface that had something in for the bowlers all day, Markram, playing his first Test since August 2022, put on a cover drive masterclass en route to 115. But West Indies restored some parity by inducing a collapse, picking seven wickets for 79 runs in the final session.

Temba Bavuma won the toss in his first assignment as full-time Test captain and elected to bat first with the hosts getting in two debutants – top order batter Tony de Zorzi and fast bowler Gerald Coetzee. Kemar Roach came in for West Indies in place of Gutakesh Motie, who was out due to a back injury.

Dean Elgar and Markram held their own in a near-perfect morning session for the hosts adding 99 runs in 28 overs. West Indies did have a chance to get that early wicket, with Elgar edging a straightforward catch to Jermaine Blackwood at third slip off Kyle Mayers, but the fielder made a mess of it.

Shannon Gabriel troubled Elgar with the short ball, including a shoulder-high delivery that drew a top edge over the wicketkeeper’s head. There was also a leg-side trap in place for him, but the former captain survived all that and brought up his 23rd Test fifty off 84 balls.

Markram, at the other end, back with renewed confidence after recently leading Sunrisers Eastern Cape at the SA20, played a couple of stunning cover drives to signal his intentions early. He was largely untroubled with whatever the West Indies bowlers threw at him as the duo went into the break unscathed.

Markram started the second session from where he left off in the first driving Jason Holder in the gap through covers, which also brought up the hundred for South Africa in the 29th over. Gabriel continued with the short-ball ploy but Elgar, now more confident, brought out the ramp over the slip fielders.

Then it was Markram’s turn to bring up his half-century, his tenth in Test cricket, with a push through covers. Elgar ramped Joseph over slips again but the very shot brought about his downfall two balls later. Joseph moved the fielder to deep third and went for another bouncer, closer to Elgar’s body. He arched back, trying to ramp him again, but ended up hitting it straight to Blackwood who took a stunning catch after a bit of misjudgment.

With de Zorzi in at No.3, West Indies would have harboured hopes of some sort of a comeback. The debutant, however, quickly put those thoughts to bed, adding 78 runs for the second wicket off 127 balls. South Africa went into tea 206 for 1 and eyeing a big first-innings with Markram unbeaten on 97 and de Zorzi largely comfortable on 22.

Things, however, unravelled rather quickly in the final session. Markram had a scare on 99 when a caught-behind decision was sent upstairs but the on-field decision of not out was upheld. He did not waste much time, crashing Joseph’s short-of-a-length ball past point to bring up his first Test century since February 2021.

However, a combination of an excellent piece of fielding and lazy running brought about de Zorzi’s wicket and opened the floodgates. De Zorzi’s cut was intercepted well at deep point by Tagenarine Chanderpaul. The duo ran two but for some reason, de Zorzi came back searching for a third only to be sent back. Chanderpaul fired in a wide throw that Joshua Da Silva palmed back onto the stumps, catching de Zorzi by surprise, who was found to be inches short.

Two balls later Joseph pinned Bavuma bang in front of the stumps for a duck before a pinpoint yorker on the base of off stump left Markram’s stumps in a mess. From 206 for 1, the hosts had slipped to 236 for 5.

Heinrich Klassen came out with an attacking intent even as Keegan Peterson, back after an injury, struggled for timing. Klaasen’s cameo did not last long, though, with Gabriel sending him back for 20 via a short ball that he pulled to Joseph at mid-on.

The West Indies bowlers then stuck to a plan and got the ball to hoop around. Senuran Muthusamy was caught in front shouldering arms to a full-length Roach delivery, while Mayers ended Peterson’s struggle on 14.

Coetzee struck two fours off his first two balls in Test cricket before bad light brought about an early close of play with only 82 overs possible on the opening day.

Ashish Pant is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo


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