Proteas

Markram’s season only swells …

2017-10-07 11:55
Aiden Markram (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Aiden Markram has done more than just make a dream start to his Test career against modest foes: he is also underlining his growing hunger for consistent crease occupation at first-class level more broadly.

Following his maiden Test century (143) in his third innings in the format against Bangladesh in Bloemfontein on Friday - the Proteas’ hugely dominant day one of the second encounter - the recently-turned 23-year-old moved to 255 runs at an average of 85 in the short series, his fledgling exposure to the most prestigious tier of the game.

That tally naturally includes his relative misfortune in being run out for 97 in his first knock for South Africa at Potchefstroom a few days ago, although he has so quickly made amends for that relative “blemish” by striding to three figures.

This Bangladeshi side contains one of the most limited attacks witnessed on our soil, especially with ace all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan missing, but you still have to go about the business dutifully, and they say it is wise to cash in wherever you can.

Centurion-born Markram has convincingly done that - and those a little cynical about the limited firepower from the tourists might do well to consider that his productive showings in the series thus far also represent an extension of his already very prolific first-class form in the 2017/18 season.

The right-hander with the close to classical technique, straightness in his stance and pleasing sense of serenity - a la a certain Jacques Kallis in several respects - has prospered in every single one of five personal first-class games (including the two Tests) since the early “kick-off” to the campaign in mid-August.

So it is not just the Bangladeshis labouring to contain him: Markram had previously got stuck in royally against visiting India ‘A’ and also in the first round of the domestic Sunfoil Series, meaning that as things stand he sports 655 first-class runs in the developing summer (nine innings) at an average of 72.77.

Do we have a new dominator under construction?

The statistical signs look good in that regard, even if the pretty benign nature of early-season surfaces needs to be taken into account.

Markram began by making an important mark against India ‘A’, considering his own challenge for a Test berth at the time, plus the resurgent form of vastly more experienced international discard Stephen Cook.

He rattled up 22 and 79 in the first unofficial Test in Pretoria, then 74 and 19 in Potchefstroom, before plundering 119 and 87 in a Sunfoil Series fixture against a Dolphins attack including now Proteas team-mates Keshav Maharaj and Andile Phehlukwayo.

The cycle of success then translated into the near-riotous launch of his Test career in the past week or two, suggesting that he may well turn 2017/18 - which includes major home Test series against India and Australia further up the road - into the season that truly announces his arrival …

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    proteas  |  aiden markram  |  cricket
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