Proteas disappointed at poor first day’s batting

Dimuth Karunarathna (R) and Lahiru Thirimanna (C) takes a single while Kagiso Rabada watches the ball during day 1 of the 2nd Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at St George's Park on February 21, 2019 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Dimuth Karunarathna (R) and Lahiru Thirimanna (C) takes a single while Kagiso Rabada watches the ball during day 1 of the 2nd Castle Lager Test match between South Africa and Sri Lanka at St George's Park on February 21, 2019 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Image: Isuru Sameera Peiris/Gallo Images

Batsman Aiden Markram admitted South Africa were disappointed in their first innings effort with the bat on day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

“Yeah‚ we were [disappointed]. Coming into this Test‚ we really wanted to score big and for the batters to get big hundreds‚” Markram said.

“We were really motivated by that coming into the second Test match. So‚ it’s something we are a bit disappointed with but having said that‚ I thought the Sri Lankans bowled well‚ especially up-front.

“A bit of lateral movement and a bit of swing and it was pretty challenging. Fortunately‚ there’s a second innings and hopefully we can make it right.”

Markram was quick to add that the fact that Quinton de Kock was able to find a way to score his 86 at almost a run a ball‚ proved that it was possible to score.

“The first session was always going to be tough‚” said Markram‚ who scored his runs off 116 deliveries.

“Tough to score and really tough to get bat on ball. It was swinging around and there was a bit of nip‚ and because of the slowness of the wicket.

“I do feel though that it got a bit better to bat on. You could also sense the difference each hour.

“And for Quinny [De Kock] to come in and play the way he did‚ proves that the wicket actually is not that bad. There’s always something in it for the quicks.

“So if they keep it in good area for long period of time I believe something will happen.”

The South Africa batsmen have had a tough time of it this season and it was always going to be that way when opting for lively pitches against subcontinent sides.

“It’s definitely not easy. If I think of our summer of home cricket‚ the wickets have been pretty challenging but it’s also not an excuse‚” Markram said.

“I think we’d be silly not to prepare wickets that assist fast bowling because we have got such a great fast bowling unit. So‚ we as batters need to find a way to score runs on the challenging wickets.

“But it is not easy and if you do get a few bad scores behind your name the pressure is on you. And when you look down the wicket‚ and it is pretty sporty‚ it does dent your confidence a touch.

“But having said that‚ I also think there’s a way to score and it’s about each batter finding their own way to put runs on the board.”

Asked if South Africa had considered bowling first after winning the toss‚ Markram said: “I think there was [a thought] today‚ to be fair.

“Generally‚ we like batting first. Even though it’s tough we like to get stuck and get through the tough phase to score quite big.

“But there was a thought to maybe bowl first today. I wasn’t too sure of the chat that was happening between captain and coach and whoever makes the decisions.

“But I think if you look at the wicket it would have been mentioned for sure.”

Lankan seamer Vishwa Fernando said they were happy to bowl first having lost the toss.

“Yes we were surprised. Normally these wickets help seamers and I am really happy that they elected to bat first so we could have a crack at them‚” Fernando said.

Fernando dismissed both Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla in taking three wickets. The left-armer bowled Amla first ball with a beauty.

“I am very pleased with that. He is a world class batsman and I am pleased that I was able to dismiss him first ball today‚” he said.

The second day starts at 10am on Friday.

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