Analysis of Aiden Markram's performance as opener's ton gives South Africa the edge

Ashish Peter 30/03/2018
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The 23-year-old registered his highest Test score.

The first day of the final Test between South Africa and Australia belonged marginally to the hosts as they finished on 313-6 by the time stumps were called.

Opener Aiden Markram struck an excellent 152 to lead the hosts’ charge at Johannesburg as the focus shifted back to cricket after the ball-tampering episode.

Here, we analyse the performance of the young South African opener on the first day of the Johannesburg Test.

STATISTICS

RUNS SCORED: 152

DELIVERIES FACED: 216

BOUNDARIES: 17

SIXES: 1

STRIKE-RATE: 70.37

30-SECOND REPORT

The 23-year-old continues to show his class in the series with his fourth Test ton. The opener’s inning was almost flawless as he looked in complete control on the opening day. The right-hander’s superb 152 gave South Africa the perfect start as they seek to win a first-ever home series against Australia.

GOT RIGHT

Markram saw off the new-ball threat by the Australian pacers with a solid technique and temperament, latching onto anything loose outside the off-stump as he made the point and cover region his own. He was equally at ease against the spin threat of Nathan Lyon, bringing out his free-flowing straight drives against him.

GOT WRONG

Bar a lofted shot against Lyon that caught the toe-end of his bat, Markram was relatively untroubled for the most part of his innings but once again he failed to drive home the advantage and threw away his wicket with a soft dab to the gully fielder. He fell in the same manner as he did after his sensational hundred in the first Test, throwing away the opportunity to make a really big one.

KEY MOMENTS

FOURTH TEST TON

In the 50th over of the day, Markram brought up his fourth hundred, and second of the series, with a simple nudge through square-leg off Lyon. As he celebrated with raised arms, the compliments started raining in on social media, drawing praise from Virat Kohli once again.

SURVIVES REVIEW AFTER TON

Just a few overs after Markram had registered his ton, he was struck on the pads with a sharp in-swinger from Pat Cummins. The Australians were up in arms immediately but Nigel Llong denied their appeals. Tim Paine opted for the review straight away and replays agreed with Llong’s decision, showing the ball to go over the stumps.

VERDICT – 9/10

The young Proteas batsman is developing quite the reputation already at such a young age, putting together another innings brimming with maturity and excellent temperament. He has such a languid, but imposing style and it is scary to think he is only 23. He has all the makings of a future superstar batsmen and South Africa have a real gem on their hands.

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Top contenders to replace Darren Lehmann as Australia coach

Robert Smith 30/03/2018
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Darren Lehmann with Ricky Ponting.

With the announcement of the departure of Australia coach Darren Lehmann, the hunt is on for who might replace him to lead the scandal-hit team.

Here are five people who might take his place:

JUSTIN LANGER

The former Test opening batsman has for some time been seen as a possible replacement for Lehmann, through his work as coach of Western Australia and the Perth Scorchers.

He filled in for Lehmann on a one-day tour of the Caribbean in 2016 and led the Twenty20 side at home against Sri Lanka last year when the series clashed with the Test tour of India.

As a tough batsman who averaged 45.27 in 105 Tests, Langer was noted for his bravery and fastidious preparation and has made it clear he wants his teams to be strong but fair and play in the right spirit.

He is seen as a man who understands the different personalities in a team and can extract the best out of a player, while also pulling anyone into line.

Justin Langer is seen as an excellent coach and man manager.

Justin Langer is seen as an excellent coach and man manager.

RICKY PONTING

The former Australia Test captain and the nation’s all-time leading run-scorer has been reluctant to spend time away from his young family in recent years.

Ponting has been floated as the nation’s Twenty20 coach, having done an impressive job in a couple of short-term consultant stints, and winning an Indian Premier League title with Mumbai.

He may yet figure in a potential job-split between a red-ball coach and white-ball coach, an idea Lehmann flagged last year.

JASON GILLESPIE

The former Test paceman coached the Adelaide Strikers to their maiden Big Bash League T20 title earlier this year and has also served as a consultant coach for CA in the past.

Gillespie coached Yorkshire to back-to-back Division One titles in 2014 and 2015 in English county cricket in a spell where the county lost five of 76 championship fixtures.

Gillespie went close before ultimately losing to Trevor Bayliss in the race to be England’s new coach on the eve of the 2015 Ashes.

DAVID SAKER

Australia’s bowling mentor filled in as head coach during an ODI tour of India last year.

While Saker, who coached Victoria to the 2016/17 Sheffield Shield title in his only season at the helm, lacks the profile of some of the other contenders, he has previously made it clear he would one day love to take the reins.

BRAD HADDIN

The former Test wicketkeeper has been Australia’s fielding coach for just over six months.

Haddin may have limited coaching experience, but his skills are well regarded. The flinty New South Welshman has also served as an assistant with Australia A sides and has worked with the country’s most promising glovemen at the National Cricket Centre in recent years.

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Injured Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc to miss IPL 2018

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Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc has been ruled out of the fourth Test against South Africa as well as the Indian Premier League because of a stress fracture in his lower right leg.

Captain Tim Paine said at the toss on Friday that Starc had been “battling some injuries throughout the tour” and had been rested from the final Test.

But Cricket Australia’s website later stated he has ‘tibial bone stress in his right leg’, which basically means a stress fracture, and that he would fly home after the Test for further assessment.

Starc was signed by Kolkata Knight Riders for the IPL, which starts on April 7.

He is the third high-profile Australian to be ruled out of the lucrative tournament following the cancellation of the contracts of Steve Smith and David Warner, both banned by Cricket Australia for their part in the ball tampering controversy during the South African Test series.

Starc was man of the match in the first Test in Durban but only took three wickets for 304 runs in the next two Tests.

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