South Africa made a solid start to the second test against West Indies on Thursday, reaching 311-7 at the end of day one following big scores by opener Aiden Markram and newcomer Tony de Zorzi.
Markram made 96, and narrowly missed out on repeating his first-innings century in the opening test, and de Zorzi built on that with 85 in his second test appearance.
Their partnership of 116 for the second wicket put the home team in a strong position at 192-1 after choosing to bat first, before West Indies launched a promising fightback late in the day at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
Markram’s dismissal before tea gave the West Indies an opening and the tourists took another five wickets in the final session — and 6-119 in that spell of play — to bring themselves back into the game.
South Africa lead the two-match series 1-0 and West Indies need to win the second test for a draw.
Left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, who returned to the West Indies team after missing the opening test with injury, claimed the wickets of Markram and de Zorzi in his 3-75 off 19 overs and was key to the West Indian revival.
Markram threw his head back in anguish as he erred playing a sweep shot and looped up a catch that Jermaine Blackwood took despite a juggle. Motie beat de Zorzi’s defenses to bowl him and also deny him a century.
The West Indies seamers kept the wickets falling, with Kyle Mayers striking twice in the last three overs of the day to send Wiaan Mulder (12) and Simon Harmer (1) back to the dressing room and ensure the fielding team finished the day in buoyant mood.
Markram and de Zorzi had threatened to give South Africa a dominant start to the test with their big partnership on a Wanderers pitch that was good for batting and not the fast-bowling paradise it normally is.
Markram hit 17 fours and nearly made it a second century of the series. He has scored 258 runs in three innings at an average of 86 following his recall to the test team for this series. De Zorzi hit 11 fours in his maiden test half-century.