There was no doubting the effort put in by the Titans bowlers on Friday as the Dolphins, set 430 to win which would have been the highest fourth-innings total in the history of the competition, made 311 for seven, thanks in the main to the epic four-and-a-half-hour unbeaten century made by captain Khaya Zondo.
He and Andile Phehlukwayo shared the match-saving partnership in the late afternoon, batting for nearly three hours as they added 119 for the seventh wicket.
“I’m happy because it’s an incredible privilege to be selected for South Africa, but there’s also a lot of disappointment with the draw because I thought we played some pretty good cricket and it’s frustrating not to get the result. But I can’t fault the effort, the guys really emptied their tanks,” Markram said after the draw, which was the same result achieved in the other two Sunfoil Series games played.
The 22-year-old was one of five Titans players chosen in the national squad for the first Test against Bangladesh starting in Potchefstroom on Thursday – the others being Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar and Morné Morkel.
Markram said he was particularly looking forward to opening the batting with Elgar, his partner at the top of the Titans batting order.
“Dean and I have opened quite a few times and we have a good understanding of each other’s game. He has helped me so much with my batting and he’s the first guy you would take to war with you. He’s also very experienced in Test cricket, so it can only help me to open with him, it will make it that little bit easier, so I’m extremely happy to be opening with Dean,” Markram said.
He agreed with the views of national selection convenor Linda Zondi that his batting has really stepped up a notch since he was added to the Proteas squad during the series in England as a back-up batsman.
“It was really nice to be in that environment and it helps you understand the intensity which Test cricket is played at. As a young guy you certainly learn a lot when you’re on tour, but with a coach like Mark Boucher and all the other Proteas guys here, there’s certainly enough fantastic people to help me at the Titans as well,” Markram said.
"It is what you dream of as a little boy and I am very excited about it. Obviously I know it’s a big opportunity for me, but I must not let that affect me. Linda Zondi said I mustn’t put any unnecessary pressure on myself, I must just do what I do."
Standard Bank Test squad: Faf du Plessis (Multiply Titans, capt), Hashim Amla (WSB Cape Cobras), Temba Bavuma (WSB Cape Cobras), Theunis de Bruyn (VKB Knights), Quinton de Kock (Multiply Titans), Dean Elgar (Multiply Titans), Keshav Maharaj (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Aiden Markram (Multiply Titans), Morne Morkel (Multiply Titans), Duanne Olivier (VKB Knights), Wayne Parnell (WSB Cape Cobras), Andile Phehlukwayo (Hollywoodbets Dolphins), Kagiso Rabada (bizhub Highveld Lions).