South African win within four days
South Africa, thanks to a much improved David Terbrugge, wasted no time at the start of day four of the inaugural Test against Bangladesh at Buffalo Park in East London to record an innings and 107 run victory.
The hosts, always favourites to win the Test, were delayed on day three by resistance from the Bangladesh batsmen. Playing that last session in a wind described by local boy and captain Mark Boucher as "the worst I have ever had to play in", the bowlers struggled to make any impression on Khaled Mashud and Alok Kapali.
But from the first ball on the final morning, David Terbrugge got the ball in the right places, the new ball made short work of the Bangladesh tail. Terbrugge took five for 46, by far his best Test bowling performance for South Africa. Bowling straight and full, he extracted lift and lateral movement out of a well-prepared Test pitch.
Asked to bat first, South Africa never really looked to be in any trouble. Milestones for Gary Kirsten, the first Test player to score a hundred against all nine Test playing nations, Jacques Kallis, the fifth Test player to reach the double of 4,000 runs and 100 wickets and Graeme Smith, the tenth South African to score a double hundred, meant that South Africa reached an impregnable 529 for four.
Martin van Jaarsveld, making his debut for South Africa, will be well pleased with his 39 not out when the declaration came.
Some questions have to be asked of the South African bowlers. Makhaya Ntini was brilliant throughout, and was unlucky not to pick up a ten-wicket haul. Terbrugge bowled very well on the final morning, but for the rest a lot of hard work remains. Mornantau Hayward struggled with his direction and length. Jacques Kallis too at times was very short, and Claude Henderson, who found some turn at the end of day three, bowled too many loose deliveries.
All these bowlers proved throughout the match that they are capable of bowling the perfect ball, but inconsistency made them ineffective. Mark Boucher said: "We try and be as professional as we can and play every Test hard, but we have areas that we will be working on." He could only have been referring to the bowling.
Bangladesh's first innings, after Ntini ripped the heart out of them, was never going to set any records, but a much improved second effort, mixed with attack and defence, will please team management. Khaled Mashud said; "We have tried very hard and are still learning and improving with every match. We are happy to have scored 250 in the second innings."
Al Sahariar showed that he has the ability and technique, especially on the leg side, to create problems for most attacks. His 71 in the second innings showed guts and determination. Struck on the hands and body, he was never deterred from getting into line and playing his shots.
The same can be said for Habibul Bashar and Sanwar Hossain. Their downfall was brought about by an inability to curb their attacking flair.
A easy win then for South Africa, and it should be no different in the second Test at Potchefstroom starting this Friday. It will be interesting to see who has learnt the most out of this first Test.