Tears for Markram's hundred‚ 'failure' for Mushfiqur
South Africa’s Aiden Markram was kinder to Bangladesh after stumps than during play on the first day of the second test in Bloemfontein on Friday.
“They were at us quite a bit‚” opening batsman Markram said. “The scoreboard says they didn’t bowl well but I don’t think that was the case: they bowled with great energy and good intensity.”
The scoreboard would yell that it has been misquoted.
Markram drilled the visitors’ attack to all parts of the largest outfield in the country to score 143‚ his maiden test century in his second test.
He helped the home side reach 428/3‚ which tied their second-highest score on the first day of a test and marked only the fifth time in all their 417 matches that they have gone past 400 on the first day.
Dean Elgar’s 113 made him the first South African since Hashim Amla in 2012 to score 1,000 runs in a calendar year.
Markram and Elgar put on 243 in an opening stand that endured until the third over before tea.
That added up to a day of what Faf du Plessis called for on Thursday: domination.
And to think Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and relinquished first use of a fine batting pitch to the South Africans.
That said‚ of the 20 times Bangladesh have earned the choice to bat or field first they have opted to field first 13 times. Or might they choose not to bat in conditions that don’t suit their batsmen? Trouble is‚ those conditions tend also to not suit their bowlers.
They didn’t on Friday‚ when the visitors’ willing but wanting attack failed to make an impression.
Mushfiqur‚ though‚ took more than his share of the blame.
“I think it was my mistake to win the toss‚” he said. “It seems it would have been better had I lost the toss.
“I think it is my personal failure. I am not able to motivate my players or guide my bowlers.”
Mushfiqur showed another departure from convention by spending much of his time in the field near the boundary.
Most captains station themselves at first slip or mid-off.
“I am not a good fielder‚” Mushfiqur admitted. “The coaches wanted me to field in the deep because they feel I give away runs or drop catches in the infield.
“I tried to abide by their instructions. You have to do what the team management tells you to do.
“I tried to field in the deep but whenever I was in the infield I tried to speak to the bowlers.”
If that makes Mushfiqur sound like he was ready for a good cry‚ he wasn’t alone.
Last week Nicole O’Connor‚ Markram’s girlfriend‚ wept in the stands during the first test in Potch after he was run out for 97 on debut.
Her tears flowed again in Bloem on Friday‚ but this time in celebration.
“She knows how much it means‚” Markram said.