He provided the inspiration while it was R Ashwin's perspiration that kept the visitors in the game on a unusual first day's play at SuperSport Park on Saturday.
It should be noted that South Africa had enjoyed a winning spree at Centurion like no other venue across this country with 17 wins and just two defeats.
Once again, the first innings batting will be crucial for India.
Earlier in the day, the Indian team management surprised one and all with some inexplicable changes. South Africa's score then was 282 for 7.
23-year-old Markram was a little unfortunate not to reach what could have been his third Test century as Parthiv Patel, playing in place of an injured Wriddhiman Saha, took a nice catch behind the wickets off the bowling of Ashwin.
"They (South Africa) have worked out a plan to get Shikhar Dhawan out by bouncing the ball, which Shikhar finds it hard to avoid or hook". Even without Dale Steyn, South Africa have the depth to keep their foot on India's throat. I said that match was one of the best I played in because there were so many ups and downs for both teams. So run-scoring, while tough, is not impossible.
South Africa's openers settled in on a surprisingly hospitable pitch at Centurion and batted through the first session to go to lunch on 78-0 on Day 1 of the second test against India on Saturday.
Out to play one before the break, India made four runs with Murali Vijay putting a loosener from spinner Keshav Maharaj past the extra cover.
After having tried all the manoeuvres and been through them all, our players lacked a good chance to sail over the opponent team.
Theunis de Bruyn signing autographs.
"It looks like a really lively pitch‚ which is exactly what we wanted it to be‚" Kohli said. In Hardik Pandya, Kohli has a bowler who can relieve the three quicks during long spells.
Borde also said he would like to see KL Rahul in the playing eleven instead of Shikhar Dhawan when asked whether such a switch needs to be done. After that a flurry of wickets put India on top. On Friday, R Ashwin left the nets with an ice pack around his right shoulder after he was hit while taking throwdowns. The team management got it completely wrong with the reading of the pitch.
Traditionally, SuperSport Park is as South African as it gets.
"Our batsmen could not perform on that wicket, but I am sure in the second Test match, you will find a different Indian side". There seems to be a lot lesser grass.
Markram admitted South Africa "didn't expect there would be so much assistance for him (Ashwin)", which made him a tricky prospect first up. While they have drawn thrice, only England (2010) and Australia have managed to beat them once each here. Morne Morkel takes a smart return catch to get the first wicket for his team.
"Frankly, it (the first Test) was a good match". While Markram was walking back after falling just short of a hundred, Kohli approached him and said, "Well played, you were unlucky to get out". This was so true for Indian captain Virat Kohli when he admitted looking at the mini collapses.