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We have been simulating Sri Lankan pitch conditions - Markram

This will be Aiden Markram's first Test outside of his South African conditions and he says the batsmen have been replicating the foreign conditions in their preparations.

FILE: South African batsman Aiden Markram pictured during the second Test against Bangladesh on 6 October 2017. Picture: @OfficialCSA.

JOHANNESBURG - Proteas opening batsman Aiden Markram says they have been simulating the spin-friendly Sri Lankan pitch conditions in preparation for their two-Test match tour starting next week.

This will be the South African International New Comer of the Year Award recipient’s first Test tour of the subcontinent, but he has had a taste of these conditions on the South African emerging tour three years ago.

Markram has taken to international cricket like a fish to water, amassing a 1000 runs with an average of 55.55 in his first 10 Tests for the Proteas. This, however, will be his first Test outside of his South African conditions and he says the batsmen have been replicating the foreign conditions in their preparations.

“It is going to be very difficult here, any subcontinent conditions will be difficult, but we have tried to simulate conditions as best as we could before coming here.”

Though Markram admits to the challenge of the spin-friendly conditions, the young opener relishes the opportunity to do well outside of his home conditions.

“It’s important for me to do well here and I’m excited for the challenge of playing in these conditions. As an opener, it is important to get the side off to a good start and you don’t want to be labelled as a guy who only does well in their home conditions.”

The Proteas begin their tour of Sri Lanka with a two-day warm-up match against a Sri Lanka Invitational XI on Saturday before the first Test at the Galle International Stadium gets underway on 12 July.

Veteran seamer Dale Steyn is back in the Proteas squad after overcoming a series of injuries and is in line to break Shaun Pollock’s South African record for the highest wicket-taker in Test match cricket. Steyn needs just three wickets to eclipse Pollock’s record of 421 Test wickets.

Steyn comes into the tour of the subcontinent on the back of some good form in the English County circuit for Hampshire, as his contributions with the ball delivered a One Day Cup trophy.

Markram says Steyn’s return to the Proteas setup has already been impactful.

“Dale in any conditions is great to have back in the camp. He has great knowledge and brings good energy. He is one of the best in the world with a ball in hand and everyone has welcomed him back with open arms.”