CENTURION: Aiden Markram made a solid half-century as South Africa made a good start on the first day of the second Test against India at SuperSport Park on Saturday.
South Africa were 78 for no wicket at lunch after winning the toss and batting on an easy-paced pitch.
Markram, playing in his fifth Test, batted impressively as he made 51 not out, reaching his fifty off 81 balls with nine fours.
By contrast, fellow opener Dean Elgar batted with determination but seldom looked comfortable in making 26 not out.
Elgar could have been caught on 14 when he hooked a ball from Jasprit Bumrah to backward square leg. Murali Vijay came in too far and the ball went over his head for four.
On 19, Elgar survived an Indian review for a catch behind the wicket by Parthiv Patel off Ravichandran Ashwin with replays showing he had not edged the ball.
Patel was playing in place of Wriddhiman Saha, who had a hamstring injury.
India made two other changes. Lokesh Rahul replaced Shikhar Dhawan as an opening batsman and fast bowler Ishant Sharma came in for Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
South Africa again opted for a four-pronged pace attack, picking new cap Lungi Ngidi in place of the injured Steyn. Ngidi, 21, played in three Twenty20 internationals last season but has played in only nine first-class matches, taking 31 wickets at an average of 20.45.
South African captain Faf du Plessis said the history of the ground favoured teams batting first.
“It is usually slow on the first day, then gets a bit quicker, with a few cracks opening up later in the match,” he said.
Indian captain Virat Kohli admitted he would also have batted first, saying: “The pitch looks really dry, it is completely different to what it was two days ago. They have taken a lot of the grass off.”
South Africa lead the three-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Cape Town by 72 runs.