Aiden Markram scored his sixth century to mark his triumphant comeback to Test cricket, but West Indies' quick-fire three-wicket burst from Alzarri Joseph helped them retake the lead late in the day. On day one of the first test, South Africa had a score of 314 for 8. Markram put on a cover drive masterclass on route to 115 while playing his first Test match since August 2022 on a track that offered something for the bowlers all day. Nevertheless, West Indies forced a collapse and took seven wickets for 79 runs in the last session to bring the score back to level. In his first task as the full-time Test captain, Temba Bavuma won the toss and chose to bat first. The hosts brought in two debutants Tony de Zorzi, a batsman in the top order, and Gerald Coetzee, a quick bowler. Gutakesh Motie, who was out with a back ailment for the West Indies, was replaced by Kemar Roach. In an almost ideal morning session for the hosts, Dean Elgar and Markram held their own, scoring 99 runs in 28 overs. When Elgar edged a simple catch off Kyle Mayers to Jermaine Blackwood at third slip, West Indies did have an opportunity to take an early wicket, but the fielder botched the catch. Short balls from Shannon Gabriel, such as one that was sent shoulder-high and resulted in a top edge over the wicketkeeper's head, bothered Elgar.The former captain faced a leg-side trap as well, but he avoided both and reached his 23rd Test fifty off 84 balls.
Whereas Markram, who recently led the Sunrisers Eastern Cape to the SA20 championship, hit a couple of superb cover drives to declare his intentions early. Whatever the West Indies bowlers threw at him, he was mainly unaffected, and the pair entered the interval unharmed. Beginning the second session where he left off in the first, Markram drove Jason Holder through the gap through covers, bringing up South Africa's hundred in the 29th over. The short-ball ruse was maintained by Gabriel, but Elgar, who was now more certain, brought out the ramp over the slip fielders. Next it was Markram's turn to push over the covers to get his half-century, his eighth in Test cricket. Joseph was ramped over slips once again by Elgar, but two balls later, the identical shot led to his demise. To get a bouncer that was closer to Elgar's body, Joseph moved the fielder to deep third. In an attempt to ramp him again, he arched back but ultimately hit the ball straight to Blackwood, who made an error in judgement and took a fantastic catch. With de Zorzi at No. 3, West Indies would have been looking for a comeback. Nevertheless, the rookie swiftly put those ideas to rest, scoring 78 runs off 127 balls for the second wicket. With Markram undefeated on 97 and de Zorzi considerably at ease on 22, South Africa entered the tea break at 206 for 1 and was anticipating a strong first inning.At the final session, though, everything swiftly came apart. On 99, Markram was in danger when a caught-behind verdict was forwarded to the upper levels, but the on-field ruling of not out was affirmed. He did not waste any time in reaching his first Test century since February 2021 by smashing Joseph's short-of-a-length ball beyond point.
De Zorzi's wicket, though, was the result of great fielding combined with careless rushing, which let the floodgates open. At deep point, Tagenarine Chanderpaul successfully intercepted De Zorzi's cut. The pair completed two runs, but for whatever reason, de Zorzi returned in quest of a third only to be told to turn around. De Zorzi was caught off guard as Chanderpaul struck a wide ball that Joshua Da Silva palmed back onto the stumps while he was inches short. Two balls later, Joseph trapped Bavuma right in front of the stumps for a duck, and Markram's stumps were completely destroyed by a perfect yorker on the base of the off stump. The hosts have dropped to 236 for 5 from 206 for 1. While Keegan Peterson, who was returning from an injury, had trouble with timing, Heinrich Klassen started off with an aggressive attitude. Nevertheless, Klaasen's cameo was short-lived as Gabriel sent him back for 20 after pulling a short ball to Joseph in the middle of the field. Using a strategy, the West Indies bowlers were able to get the ball to hoop around. As a full-length Roach pitch was delivered, Senuran Muthusamy was caught shouldering his arms, and on 14, Mayers ended Peterson's battle. Coetzee hit two fours in his first two Test balls before poor lighting forced an early end to play with only 82 overs remaining on the first day.
SA Vs WI Test Report: Joseph Leads West Indies Fightback After Markram Century
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