On his first day back in a Test match, Aiden Markram scored a century, but on the opening day of the first Test between South Africa and the West Indies at SuperSport Park on Tuesday, the West Indies made a strong comeback. With a South Africa total of 314 for eight, Markram hit 115. Alzarri Joseph, a fast bowler who took three for 60, led the West Indian bowling attack. Temba Bavuma, the new captain, won the toss and elected to bat, and South Africa appeared poised to seize complete control when they reached 221 for one.
The West Indian bowlers discovered swing, lateral movement, and better consistency with the old ball, but they lost seven more wickets before the game ended while scoring an additional 93 runs.
A stand of 80 between Markram and newly minted captain Tony de Zorzi followed an opening partnership of 141 between him and former captain Dean Elgar (71). De Zorzi, a left-handed player, appeared at ease before being benched for 28.
De Zorzi finished a comfortable two runs by punching a ball from Joseph through the covers.
After a terrible stretch of play in which he went 15 innings without a half-century and only two runs above 30, Markram was dropped last year. Since scoring 108 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi in February 2021, he had not made a hundred.
Despite a cautious beginning, he quickly found his rhythm, hitting 18 fours in a 174-ball inning, laced with his signature cover drives and potent pull shots.
Elgar lost his captaincy after South Africa’s embarrassing losses in tours of England and Australia, scoring 71 runs off 118 balls.
Two of Elgar’s eleven fours were ramp shots over the slips, but when he attempted to hit a third, he was caught in midair by Jermaine Blackwood off Joseph at third man.
When Kyle Mayers was on 10, Blackwood earlier laid down a superb opportunity at third slip off Kyle Mayers.
With Gerald Coetzee and De Zorzi receiving their first caps, the South African team made five changes from the lineup that competed in the third Test in a losing series in Australia in January.
From the team that defeated Zimbabwe by an innings and four runs in Bulawayo earlier this month, the West Indies made one alteration.
Gudakesh Motie, a left-arm spinner who had 13 wickets in the victory in Bulawayo, was replaced by fast bowler Kemar Roach due to a back injury.