Conditions to favour spin again
Bangladesh will once again employ three spinners as they head to Mirpur for the second ODI against South Africa. Conditions in Mirpur, the venue for both the second and third ODIs, are expected to be similar to those of the first match in Chittagong, which South Africa won comfortably by nine wickets.
For the hosts, Mashrafe Mortaza makes a return to the playing XI and will spearhead the attack in place of Shahadat Hossain. Mortaza, the vice-captain, was overlooked for the first ODI, in which Bangladesh opted for three left-arm spinners in Abdur Razzak, Shakib Al Hasan, and Mosharraf Hossain.
The other change for Bangladesh has Junaid Siddique making way for Nazimuddin, who will become the sixth ODI debutant in the series. "We rested Mortaza in Chittagong and hopefully he will be fresh and energized for tomorrow's match. We need him to be in his best form with the ball. His big-hitting in the closing overs will also an added bonus," Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, said. "Junaid we feel is a little low on confidence after not getting the runs in ODIs. He has featured in partnerships but has not made the scores he is capable of. He has been given a break."
Bangladesh's persistence with spin means the pitch is again likely to be low and slow, also acknowledged by Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach. "We will have our work cut out once again for the second and third matches as the conditions will be virtually the same," Arthur told the Independent. "There's nothing in the pitch that indicates that the quick bowlers will have any juice in it for them. They will need to put their backs into it and stick rigidly with their disciplines."
South Africa restricted Bangladesh to 178 in Chittagong on Sunday, and all their frontline bowlers were among the wickets. Andre Nel was the most impressive of the lot - with 3 for 24 off his ten overs. The visitors played two spinners in Johan Botha and Paul Harris, and Arthur indicated the two would feature in Wednesday's match.
"It certainly looks that way," Arthur said. "But a final decision will be made after a practice session later today. We don't know what the curator is going to be up to this morning as he was still working on the track late yesterday [Monday]. These issues change by the hour in this part of the world and until their job is complete you cannot cast anything in stone."
Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs led the chase in Chittagong, but an inexperienced middle-order - with Jacques Kallis rested for the series - is a vulnerability Bangladesh could exploit if they can make early inroads.
Wins in both matches will see South Africa jump to the top spot in the ICC rankings for ODI teams, and would be the ideal way to head to the tougher test that awaits them in India.
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Nazimuddin, 3 Shahriar Nafees, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Shakib Al Hasan, 6 Raqibul Hasan, 7 Dhiman Ghosh (wk), 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Mosharraf Hossain, 10 Abdur Razzak, 11 Syed Rasel
South Africa (probable): 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Herschelle Gibbs, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 JP Duminy, 5 AB de Villiers (wk), 6 Alviro Peterson, 7 Albie Morkel, 8 Johan Botha, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Andre Nel, 11 Charl Langeveldt