- Proteas opening batsman Aiden Markram is hoping to ride a wave of confidence after scoring his first half-century on the subcontinent.
- Markram scored 74 but was part of a top-order collapse which saw the Proteas lose three wickets in a half-an-hour against Pakistan.
- He blames himself for the team's low second-innings total as the hosts needed only 88 to win in Karachi.
Proteas opening batsman Aiden Markram's recent performances in red-ball cricket haven't lived up to the hype that was expected.
Markram started his Test career strong as he was the country's top run-scorer in 2018 - scoring 672 runs in 10 Tests.
However, injuries and a subsequent dip in form saw Markram lose his national spot to Cape Cobras batsman Pieter Malan.
But in typical Markram fashion, he got back up and continued to work on his game. After an outstanding start to the 2020/21 domestic season, he earned his place back but there were some concerns over his performances on the subcontinent.
Markram has only played five Test matches on the subcontinent - including the Karachi Test - and averages 17.10.
His gritty 74 runs off 224 balls in the opening Test against Pakistan this week was his maiden half-century in Asia.
Markram admits that his batting effort is giving him the self-belief to back himself under unpredictable conditions.
"There is a bit that I can take from the knock, there is a bit of confidence after what I've been through dealing in the sub[continent] but in an ideal world, you would want to kick on... but there's that level of confidence that I'll try and take to the next innings," he told reporters on Friday.
Markram lost his wicket following the demise of Rassie van der Dussen (64) and Faf du Plessis (10).
The 26-year-old Markram pushed forward to Nauman Ali (5/35), offering another soft catch at mid-off, as three wickets fell in the space of 33 balls late on Day 3.
Markram blamed himself for adding to the Proteas top-order collapse as South Africa fell to an seven-wicket defeat.
"I lost my wicket so close to stumps, I could've managed to find my way through that and start over. It would've helped to settle the changeroom and allow for us to post a bigger target... that's the part that I'm to blame for."
Markram, who scored 13 in the first innings, stated that he needed to fight through to bat on a pitch which favoured spin bowlers.
"The first innings looked like a very good batting wicket so to miss out was frustrating but at the end of the day, I got a good ball from Shaheen... so it's one of those that you try and brush aside and crack on," he said.
"It was a slightly different innings, it was quite challenging for me to spend time and not worry about scoring but it was one of those things that had to be done on a wicket like that.
"I didn't change too much. We had a chance to learn from how the Pakistani's batted in their first innings and just observing how they went about it gave me comfort in the ability to back your defence even in conditions that started to turn. That's one of the things that I brought to [my game]."
Markram is looking to carry this confidence into the second and final Test in Rawalpindi from Thursday (4 February).
"By no means [am I] a finished product but at least it's a step in the right direction for myself. Obviously, there's a lot of learning and growing that I have to do in conditions like these," he said.
"From a personal point of me, it was about spending time out in the middle and eventually feeling like you could find a way to score so that'll be a focus going forward.
"It all comes down to the bat, it's all about making a good start that will allow the changeroom to relax and that can set us off in a good direction."