Six-star Markram not fazed by England Lions' 'Bazball' approach in tour game

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  • Proteas batter Aiden Markram is far from bothered by the England Lions' bellicose approach to batting in their on-going tour game.
  • The Lions, propped up by 100s from Harry Brook and Ben Duckett, piled up 672 at an eye-watering run-rate of 5.74.
  • The Proteas ended the third day on 59/3, requiring a further 180 runs to make England bat again with Markram, who took 6/91 with the ball, unbeaten on 20.

Proteas batter Aiden Markram, who shone with the ball, was far from surprised at how the England Lions batting group came after them in their tour game in Canterbury.

Markram, who's pretty happy to function in his primary trade as a batter, surprised all and sundry with his 6/91 in the England Lions' innings of 672 in response to South Africa's first innings of 433.

It was the Lions' eye-popping innings run-rate of 5.74 that's the major talking point ahead of next week's Test series, with the Lions' already sampling from the Brendon McCullum 'Bazball' copy-book.

There were ballistic tons from Harry Brook (140 off 170) and Ben Duckett (145 off 168), with the pair slamming 37 fours and six sixes (all to Brook).

They were supported by equally pacy knocks from Dan Lawrence (97 off 97), Sam Billings (92 off 96), Craig Overton (42 off 21), with the normally subdued Dom Sibley (48 off 62) also getting off to a reasonably quick start.

Markram's six-for came in 16 overs, but the Proteas weren't shocked at how England's next-berth Test candidates came for them.

Only Marco Jansen (1/111) and Duanne Olivier (2/59) went at less than five to the over, but Markram said it was good they were subjected to that type of pressure.

"I wouldn't say it was a surprise because I feel the wicket played really well," Markram said.

"They earned the right to play with that kind of freedom and I think it's going to be the same throughout the summer.

"I do think we bowled some bad balls that they capitalised on, but they also played some really good shots into some good areas.

"I think they batted really well and they put us under some pressure. It was nice for us to be put under that kind of pressure and other guys responded to it.

"The guys were a bit rusty, but I think and hope they can keep getting better throughout the build-up to the series to develop and execute plans in the way the English play."

Markram, who sparkled in the white-ball section of the tour, made 10 off 45 in the first innings where he batted at number four and on what will be the last day of the game, SA's hopes of salvaging a draw by batting out the entire day rested with him.

He's unbeaten on 20 off 37 balls alongside Rassie van der Dussen (8*), with Dean Elgar (4), Sarel Erwee (14) and Keegan Petersen (12) all back in the shed.

South Africa will resume on 59/3, requiring a further 180 runs to make the England Lions bat again, but Markram felt they'd put in some excellent preparation work.

"We've done as much preparation as we can on the tour, but I'm not sure whether I'm going to open or not," Markram said.

"If I don't, at least the preparation will give one the best opportunity to get ready. I'll see if I get to play in the middle order and if so, I hope the preparation will be good enough.

"It's always nice to turn the arm over here and there as I don't back my bowling skills for a long period."

Markram cautioned against teams falling into England's 'Bazball' cricket trap that comes with hi-octane batting.

The Proteas have learnt to grind out games and take them deep, something Markram said has been working for them.

"We've got our own brand of cricket that we play that we've been playing for a couple of years now," Markram said.

"We've got to back that. Their brand of cricket is what they back and we've got a different plan. We need to back what we've been doing for a few years and hope we can match them.

"Teams may fall into the trap, but we'll keep on playing the way we play and we hope it'll be good for us to execute on the day."

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