Second Test: SA set India 79-run target; Markram scores ton

Bumrah took his ninth five-wicket haul in Test cricket

bumrah-rohit-ap India's Jasprit Bumrah celebrates the wicket of South Africa's Keshav Maharaj during the second day of the second Test, in Cape Town | AP

Aiden Markram scored the most combative hundred of his career but a vintage Jasprit Bumrah morning spell kept India firmly on course for a series-levelling win against South Africa at lunch on day two of the second Test in Cape Town on Thursday.

Markram threw caution to the winds as he smashed his way to 106 off just 103 balls, singlehandedly steering Proteas to 176 all out in 36.5 overs at stroke of lunch and leaving India with a victory target of 79 on a spicy pitch.

The match is almost certain to finish by tea time and possibly will be the shortest Test match (in terms of overs bowled).

The ball didn't fly off the surface as much as it did on the opening day but with enough juice available to get movement off the surface, Bumrah (6/61 in 13.5 overs) from his back of length approach in the first essay reverted to a more traditional fuller length deliveries to set the alarm bells ringing for the Proteas.

This was his ninth five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Sensing that he could soon run out of partners once David Bedingham (11) edged one behind the stumps and Kyle Verreynne misjudged the length while going for an unnecessary pull-shot, Markram started attacking the inexperienced Mukesh Kumar (2/56 in 10 overs) and Prasidh Krishna (1/27 in 4 overs), who has been the weakest link in India's pace attack in his debut series.

With Indian skipper Rohit Sharma rightly setting an attacking field, Markram, found it easy to muscle the balls through the gaps as he hit 17 fours and two mighty sixes off Prasidh.

In the morning, a vintage Bumrah was in full bloom on a tailor-made surface.

Starting at 62 for three, South Africa quickly lost their middle-order to be 111 for 7 before Markram took charge in a 51-run stand with Rabada where he launched into every Indian bowler.

It finally took first innings hero Mohammed Siraj (1/31) to induce a mistimed heave from Markram, ensuring the lead didn't cross the 100-run mark.

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