POTCHEFSTROOM: Bangladesh's decision to bowl first on the opening day of the series backfired in a big way as South Africa cruised to 298-1 at stumps on Day 1 of the first test on Thursday.
Bangladesh's gamble was a surprise on a Potchefstroom pitch that was predicted to favour the batsmen early in the game, and captain Mushfiqur Rahim's call put his team under pressure immediately.
The South African batters pounced. Opener Dean Elgar was 128 not out at stumps, Aiden Markram made 97 on his debut, and Hashim Amla was 68 not out with Elgar at the end.
None of the seven Bangladesh bowlers who were given a go on the tame pitch at Senwes Park had any success, with Markram run out to miss out on a century on debut.
But that was South Africa's only minor disappointment.
Elgar moved serenely to a ninth test century and put on 196 for the first wicket with Markram. Elgar and Amla added another 102 in their unbroken second-wicket stand.
Markram, who came close to making his debut in England earlier this year, hit 13 fours to take his chance at the top of the order.
He was on course to be the seventh South African to make a century on debut but was denied in a bad mix-up with Elgar. Elgar played to backward point, and Markram came through for the run before having to turn round and try and get back.
Sabbir Rahman and bowler Mehidy Hasan Miraz combined for the run out.
New coach Ottis Gibson will still have been pleased with the strong start in his first match in charge of South Africa.