Border batsman Marco Marais earned himself a slice of cricketing history at East London last week, by crashing his way to the fastest first-class triple-century, for Border against Eastern Province.
"I don't think anyone actually thinks they are going to get 300," Marais told The Daily Dispatch after making an unbeaten 300 off 191 balls. "Before the season started I was targeting over 500 first-class runs and I have already passed that, so now I am going to have to make new goals for myself for the rest of the season."
Not only did Marais achieve a career-first triple-century but he broke a record that has stood for 96 years. Australia's Charles Macartney's triple-hundred came off 221 balls against Nottinghamshire in 1921. He went on to finish on 345.
Marais may well have surpassed Macartney's score at Buffalo Park but Border called time on his innings as soon he reached the triple-century. They declared on 512 for 4, bowled their provincial rivals Eastern Province out for 212 and were 66 for 2 in response.
Though the match was not won, Marais will claim a personal victory after an innings which featured 35 fours and 13 sixes and featured a record fifth-wicket stand of 428. He hopes the innings can provide a stepping stone to break into the Warriors franchise side.
"I really hope someone sits up and takes notice. I think every semi-pro player dreams of playing at the next level, which is franchise cricket, and I would love to play in it," Marais said.
The franchise are currently engaged in the Ram Slam 20-over tournament, where they sit at the bottom of the table with only one win from six matches. Their woes would well call for someone with Marais' confidence, especially as his approach appears to be based on self-belief.
"I was striking the ball so well," he said. "I decided that I was just going to go hard at them and it came off in the end."
Marais' coach Frank Plaatjes said he had "never seen anything," like the innings before and believes there is more to come from the 24-year old. "I have always said Marco is a special player, I knew something was on the cards because he has been playing so well, but we didn't expect 300 to be honest," Plaatjes said.
Marais is currently in action for Border against Northern Cape in Kimberley, where they are struggling. Border were bowled out for 115 in their first innings and Marais made just 5. He currently sits second on the three-day cup run charts.