South Africa's Temba Bavuma was left stranded on 95 not out as they tightened their grip on a first home series win over a scandal-hit Australia in nearly 50 years at tea on the second day of the fourth and final test at the Wanderers on Saturday.
Australia need a win to share the series, an outcome that would provide hollow comfort after the chaos that engulfed the team in the wake of their ball-tampering in the third Test in Cape Town and the crisis that followed this week.
With Markram and AB de Viliers at the crease and the score at 247/2 the hosts were in control, but a fightback, led by Pat Cummins (3/53), saw Australia take late wickets and finish well on a tough day in the field.
But‚ he went on to prove doubters wrong with a defiant 94 on the first day of the second test against India at SuperSport Park in January‚ and he has now scored two centuries against Australia in this series. So we just tried to absorb as much as we could during that tricky period, to take it deep and bat for as long as possible.More news: FIRST ALERT WEATHER DAY: Severe storms possible Wednesday
Australia assistant coach David Saker admitted the psychological strain of what the players had endured - the trashing of the team's image and the exile of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft - had an unescapable effect.
Temba Bavuma was left stranded on 95 after Quinton de Kock (39) and Keshav Maharaj smashed 45 from 51 balls at number 10 as the crestfallen and physically exhausted tourists were kept in the field for a bruising 137 overs. Handscomb held on to another catch in the slips to get rid of Amla.
He claimed the prize wicket of AB de Villiers, caught off a faint inside edge, before having nightwatchman Kagiso Rabada caught at mid-off. Markram, whose innings was punctuated by several easy-on-the-eye drives, soon brought up his century from 152 balls and he looked keen for more. He edged just short of the slips off Sayers and survived an lbw review from Cummins, but he largely batted serenely, looking especially fluent through the offside. Faf du Plessis was at the other end and finished the day on 34 not out.
But De Villiers and Bavuma steadied the innings again with a fifth-wicket partnership of 52, before two late wickets lifted Australia at the Wanderers.More news: United Nations blacklists dozens of ships, businesses over North Korea smuggling
Tim Paine sent a scare through the Australian camp early on day two after copping a whack on his problematic right hand after a 122-kilometre delivery from Sayers. De Villiers reviewed but replays confirmed the umpire's original decision and he walked off having made 69 from 119 balls.
He paid tribute to the quality of South Africa's bowling but added: "Obviously after the week we've had there's a lot of disappointment in the room that we can't put something together".
Temba Bavuma made 95 not out after he and Quinton de Kock fought their way through a testing early period against a ball that was nearly new in gloomy conditions.More news: 1146 rebels, families evacuate Douma district in Syria's Eastern Ghouta
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