South Africa on course for series-win
Match factsNovember 26-30, 2008
Start time 10.30am (0830GMT)
Where now for Bangladesh? It is a question that has hung like a shadow over their development ever since they made their Test debut in 2000, yet as the years roll on, there is little evidence of improvement. Their form guide, a string of "Ls", reads like a Welsh railway station, and the first Test against South Africa last week was a case in point. Encouraging performances from their bowlers contrasted starkly with an insipid effort from Bangladesh's batsmen who, in the second innings, folded like a pack of cards to lose their last seven wickets for 79. No wonder Mickey Arthur, the South Africa coach, is concerned about his side's build-up to the Australia series next month.
Bangladesh's inadequacies aside, South Africa had their own problems, most notably Morne Morkel, who conceded nearly seven-runs-per-over in the first innings, spraying the ball with alarming regularity. At the other end, however, South Africa have Dale Steyn who is rapidly becoming the finished article. His ninth five-wicket haul decimated Bangladesh's second innings, while his career strike-rate stands at a venomous 36.6.
With Paul Harris out of the series, South Africa will pick wither Monde Zondeki - Test-less for three years - or the left-arm spinner, Robin Peterson. Given Bangladesh's fear of anything fast, Zondeki ought to strap on his bowling boots and ensure South Africa wrap things up in three days flat.
Form guide (last 5 Tests, most recent last)South Africa DWWLW
Watch out forMorne Morkel - The least convincing of South Africa's quick bowlers, Morkel is striving to find his form ahead of the Australia tour. He is having a few issues with his action, especially the wrist at delivery, and is still firing deliveries wide of the stumps. When he gets it right all the ingredients are there for a destructive burst, and he needs a long bowl in this Test - if the Bangladesh batsmen are good enough to allow him that.
Mahbubul Alam - He was impressive in Bloemfontein, maintaining a steady line and length even when South Africa's top order were piling on the runs. Found swing with both new balls, removing Graeme Smith with a beauty, and with more luck could have bagged more than two wickets. If the pitch is green he could cause a few problems
Bangladesh bottle - There is no harm in losing to a better team, but a meek surrender makes for poor viewing. No one expects Bangladesh to beat South Africa, but for their own self esteem they must show some guts over the next few days. Staying in line against the pace would be a start, and the batsmen also need to play what they preach and shelve their flashy strokeplay for something more resilient.
The only change South Africa will make is for the injured Paul Harris, to be replaced by Monde Zondeki or Robin Peterson.
South Africa (probable) 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Neil McKenzie, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 AB de Villiers, 6 Ashwell Prince, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Dale Steyn, 10 Makhaya Ntini, 11 Monde Zondeki
Abdur Razzak, Bangladesh's leading spinner, looks set to return to the team, probably in place of Naeem Islam. Razzak missed the first Test when he underwent analysis on his bowling action in Australia after being reported by umpires in the New Zealand series last month.
Bangladesh (probable) 1 Imrul Kayes, 2 Tamim Iqbal, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Mohammad Ashraful (capt), 5 Mehrab Hossain junior, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Mashrafe Mortaza, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Shahadat Hossain, 11 Mahbubul Alam.
Pitch and conditions
The Centurion pitch is expected to be green and to favour the quick bowlers, much to Bangladesh's fear - particularly with the prodigious bounce traditionally associated with South African surfaces. Pleasingly, the weather is set fair too.
Stats & Trivia
- Bangladesh's two combined innings in the first Test lasted 88.3 overs
- Against Bangladesh, Dale Steyn averages 13.09
- Monde Zondeki is in line to play his first Test since April 2005, when he got 3 for 120 when West Indies made 747 all out
"We are not used to batting on bouncy wickets but we will try to do better in the next Test."
Mohammad Ashraful is desperate for his side to improve
"I'm very keen to see Monde in action. If we go with an all-pace attack it will give us that opportunity. It's quite necessary that he gets a Test under the belt in case something happens in Australia."
Mickey Arthur is keen to wheel Zondeki back against Bangladesh
Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo