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Markram admits Proteas are relieved after finally beating Australians

Stuart Hess Sports reporter
Marco Jansen has made valuable contributions with the bat at no.7 for the Proteas in the ODI series against Australia
Marco Jansen has made valuable contributions with the bat at no.7 for the Proteas in the ODI series against Australia
Image: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Having copped some severe beatings to start the season, there was a palpable sense of relief in the Proteas camp after they kept alive the ODI series against Australia with a thumping win of their own in Potchefstroom.

From the coaching staff cheering TV reviews going in the home team’s favour, Tabraiz Shamsi’s thunderous celebrations and the smile on skipper Temba Bavuma’s face, it was evident that Tuesday night’s 111-run victory was much-needed. 

“We pride ourselves on being really competitive and when you don’t live up to those standards it affects the human as well as the cricketer,” said player-of-the-match Aiden Markram.

“When you get a good result it means a lot to us. It’s nice to know, even with what has happened earlier on this tour, that we have the character to turn it around in a must-win game. There are a lot of positives we can take forward and a lot of relief.

His unbeaten 102, off only 74 balls, came at a critical time in the Proteas innings when they were in danger of wasting their best opening partnership in over a year.

Bavuma and Quinton de Kock were fluent and efficient in compiling a 146-run first-wicket stand, but a wobble after the second drinks break after 34 overs saw the Proteas score just 24 runs in eight overs.

“It was quite a tricky wicket,” Markram said, “you never felt in.” 

“When you have to try to smoke it from ball one it can be quite challenging. The idea was to get partnerships to develop before we start pulling the trigger,” he add.

You see what the Boks have done in the last few years and it is inspiring for us as the Proteas and motivating in a way

There was yet more evidence of Marco Jansen’s courage and technical ability, with his innings of 32 off 16 balls, which was part of a 63-run sixth-wicket partnership with Markram. “To strike at 200 at that stage of the innings on that wicket was fantastic,” Markram said of the lanky 23-year-old. 

While concerns remain about Proteas looking somewhat light on the batting front, Jansen’s three innings in this series have provided sufficient evidence of his ability and mental fortitude. Besides Tuesday’s effort, he also shared a 57-run partnership with Temba Bavuma in the first match, coming to the crease with the Proteas at 100/5 and in the second ODI, there was a 64-run partnership with David Miller. 

South Africa do need more out of that position, but Jansen has played confidently and there’ll be an awareness from him that he is capable of turning 30s into 50s and 60s.

With the Springboks and Bafana Bafana all winning in the last few days, the Proteas’ triumph added to what was a good 72 hours for South Africa’s three most prominent sports teams. 

“You have the opportunity to inspire people, and to do that would mean a lot to us as a team. You see what the Boks have done in the last few years and it is inspiring for us as the Proteas, and motivating in a way,” said Markram.