Losing seven wickets for just 36 runs might suggest a fair degree of carelessness from the Proteas batsmen, but opener Aiden Markram insists it was far more complicated than that.
South Africa’s quest for a Test series whitewash against Pakistan suffered a blow on Friday as they slumped from 229/3 to 262 all out.
However, the two late wickets snapped up by Vernon Philander provided some ammunition that the Wanderers surface isn’t quite as easy to bat on.
“To be honest, I do feel our total is a touch under par,” said Markram, who was the home side’s mainstay with a splendid knock of 90 that he felt was arguably his best to date in the pinnacle form of the game.
“It’s maybe a bit difficult to comment, but batting seemed to get harder later on in the day. It’s a score we’ll take, yet we wanted a bit more. One of our batters needed to get to the 100-mark. We pride ourselves on lot on that in this group. There were a few of us who had the chance to make it count and we didn’t.”
Indeed, Markram set the tone for a day where opportunities were left unused as he somehow managed to edge a poor delivery down leg instead of getting proper bat on it.
That was followed by Hashim Amla (41), Theunis de Bruyn (49) and to a lesser extent Quinton de Kock getting dismissed by virtue of playing questionable shots.
Even though there is widespread agreement that this surface is the best of the series to date, Markram believes it doesn’t mean the Proteas were clumsy in losing such a rash of wickets in such a short space of time.
“From what it looked like, there was definitely more zip in the wicket later in the afternoon. Pakistan also bowled really well and kept the scoring rate down. They also forced the batters to play almost every delivery and they weren’t scoring deliveries.”