Half-centuries by Aiden Markram and Tony de Zorzi handed the Proteas the edge after opening day of the second Test against West Indies at DP World Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The hosts reached stumps on 311 for seven thanks in the main to opener Markram. Markram was also the Player of the Match in the series opener. He scored a century and 47, thanks to his scintillating 96 (139 balls, 17 fours).

IMPRESSIVE DEBUT AT THE WANDERERS 

De Zorzi, who is an international debutant in the series, also impressed with 85 off 155 balls. He banked a maiden Test 50.

However, the home side lost most of that impetus when the tourists claimed five wickets in the final two hours to remain well in the game after the first day.

There was nonetheless plenty of positives for South Africa to be encouraged by, especially after their struggles with the bat over the past year.

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This time around they again won the toss at the start, with captain Temba Bavuma electing to bat first. Dean Elgar and Markram both scored quickly early on as the Proteas went to 50 in 11 overs.

The partnership reached 76. Before the Elgar was excellently caught by Roston Chase diving forward at short fine leg off pick-of-the-bowlers Gudakesh Motie (3/75) for 42 off 54 balls. 

AIDEN MARKRAM AND TONY DE ZORZI SHINE FOR THE PROTEAS 

That brought together De Zorzi and Markram, who together had the biggest partnership of the innings. The two put on 116 together for the second wicket. Taking their side to 192 when Markram tried to sweep and instead miscued to Jermaine Blackwood running to the leg side from slip, falling four short of a century.

Proteas batter Aiden Markram fell short of a century by four runs against West Indies
Proteas batter Aiden Markram fell short of a century by four runs against West Indies

The Proteas continued to look comfortable after tea when Bavuma (28) settled in nicely. Only to be trapped leg before wicket by Jason Holder (1/39) ending a third wicket stand of 56.4

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De Zorzi followed not too long after when he was bowled by Motie. With the recalled Ryan Rickelton next to go after reaching 22.

Kyle Mayers (2/24) added the late wickets of Wiaan Mulder (12) and Simon Harmer (1). He capped a strong comeback for the islanders as they took back some of the initiative that had been seized by South Africa.

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