As SA piled on the runs to end day one on 298/1 on Thursday, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim looked like a man watching a horror movie.
After winning the toss, Rahim decided to bowl first, but it turned out to be the wrong decision as the South African batsmen gave a masterclass to take a sizeable early advantage in the first Test in Potchefstroom.
The Bangladesh bowlers toiled all day and the only wicket to fall was in the 55th over when Aiden Markram was run out on 97 to deny him the milestone of becoming the seventh South African batsman to score a hundred on Test debut.
The last South African to score a hundred on his debut was Stephen Cook, who made his century off 187 deliveries on day one of the fourth and final Test against England at Centurion in January 2016.
Markram’s run-out was the result of a mix-up with his opening partner Dean Elgar, who changed his mind after he called for a quick single while sitting on a nervous 99 just before tea. Elgar dropped to his knees as Markram walked back to the pavilion.
But there was something to liven up the mood as Elgar clocked his ninth century three balls later. Still upset by the run-out of Markram, Elgar did not celebrate when he crossed the line for his century.
But Markram accepted the situation. "I am more than happy to take the 97, because if you told me last night that I would score 97, I would not have believed you. I got myself in no man’s land, but it is part of the game and you have to take it on the chin and move on," he said.
"He [Elgar] was extremely upset. We have come a long way and have developed a good friendship. It was tough for him and a bitter pill to swallow, but I told him to go on for the team’s sake."
Markram, 22, who captained SA to the 2014 Under-19 World Cup title, was Elgar’s fourth opening partner in 2017.
His 97 came from 152 balls and included 13 boundaries in 237 minutes at the crease.
Elgar and Markram put together a partnership of 196, SA’s first opening partnership of 150 or more since Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen against Pakistan in 2010. Elgar ended the day unbeaten on 128. With him is Hashim Amla, on 68 off 103 balls.
Elgar is now the leading run-scorer in Test matches in 2017 and with a possible three more innings to come in this series, has an opportunity to consolidate his position.
SA fielded a second new cap in all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, who with fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, was a team-mate of Markram in the 2014 Under-19 side.