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JOHANNESBURG – Aiden Markram likened Temba Bavuma’s injury induced withdrawal to being akin to “losing a wicket,” in the first One-Day International against Sri Lanka on Thursday.
The South African captain left the field at the end of the 28th over, having scored 38, putting an end to what had been a partnership of 117 for the second wicket with Markram. The pair had been in complete control up to that point, with Markram playing magnificently to score 96.
“The partnership was definitely gaining some momentum,” said Markram.
“It was very unfortunate to lose him to something so freakish. It was certainly a momentum-halting moment in the game.”
Sri Lanka would go on to win the opening ODI by 14 runs, with South Africa getting that close because of a fine half century by Rassie van der Dussen.
Bavuma was hit on his right thumb by an errant throw from one of Sri Lanka’s close-in fielders. Initially he had the bruised area iced, and tried to continue batting, but then left the match. The team did state he could batting after the hand was strapped and would do so if needed, but with wickets falling the South African captain didn’t emerge from the dressing room. He later went for scans on the injured area.
Although Markram said the pitch at the Premadasa Stadium played better than the South Africans had anticipated, it was noticeable that it took the new batsmen up to a dozen deliveries to get accustomed to the conditions. “Going forward in the series and into the T20s it might get tougher naturally with the amount of traffic on the square. Today it actually played quite well,” he remarked.
Sri Lankan opener Avishka Fernando was named man of the match after scoring a beautifully constructed 118.
“I thought their score was slightly above par but certainly not out of reach, and then I think at the end of the game, it probably reflected what were two pretty decent scores on a decent pitch,” said Markram.
“It was stopping and holding up, but it wasn’t doing that every ball. The odd delivery naturally did spin a little bit, but nothing exaggerated. Once you spent a bit of time at the crease, it got slightly easier.”
Spin did play a major role – South Africa bowled 26 overs through Markram, Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi – while the Sri Lankans shared 38 overs among four spinners.
Sri Lanka’s seamers however outbowled their more experienced South Africa counterparts, who were too short with their lengths. The Sri Lankans, Dushmantha Chameera and Chamika Karunaratne, were much more disciplined with lengths and lines against the South African top order.
The second ODI will be played on Saturday.