April 27, 2003

South Africa cruise to victory

Bangladesh, unused to reaching the fourth day of a Test match, collapsed within an hour to 237 all out, granting South Africa a victory by an innings and 60 runs. Paul Adams picked up his second five-wicket haul of the match, scalping four of the five batsmen to fall today. He finished with match figures of 10 for 106.

Graeme Smith made the unusual decision, in the morning, of asking Charl Willoughby to begin proceedings with Paul Adams, instead of Makhaya Ntini or Shaun Pollock. Willougby was wayward and innocuous, and Mohammad Ashraful, in a cameo innings full of his trademark defiance, cashed in briefly.

Twice, in the 8th over of the day, Willoughby dropped short; twice Ashraful pulled him for four. Willoughby then overcompensated with a fuller delivery on Ashraful's pads, and was flicked away for two - some smart fielding prevented a third boundary in a row.

As if to show that he still hadn't displayed his full armoury of bad balls, Willoughby then bowled a hit-me ball outside off, and Ashraful hit it straight to Smith at cover (213 for 6). Ashraful was out for 28, and Bangladesh's resistance was all but over.

Akram Khan (16) flayed around for while before slogging a long hop from Adams to Boeta Dippenaar at long leg (224 for 7). Mashrafe Mortaza, promoted to No. 9 after some lusty strokeplay in the first innings, was out for a duck, edging Adams to Pollock at first slip (224 for 8).

A desperate Khaled Mahmud was then stumped by Mark Boucher off Adams for 1 (224 for 9). And Enamul Haque (11), after swinging a couple of full tosses from Adams for four, hit one straight back to the bowler. One more innings defeat for Bangladesh, as history repeated itself for the umpteenth time.

Habibul Bashar and Javed Omar had shown a lot of resilience with their second-wicket partnerships of 83 and 131 in this match, but their team-mates were stuck in the same old rut. They were caught in a loop. What would they need to break out of it? A new coach would help. Dav Whatmore was on his way.