South Africa v Bangladesh 2008-09 / News

South Africa v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Centurion, 1st day

Mushfiqur and Junaid star for Bangladesh

The Report by Will Luke

November 26, 2008

Text size: A | A

South Africa 20 for 1 (Smith 15*, Amla 5*) trail Bangladesh 250 (Siddique 67, Mushfiqur 65, Ntini 4-32) by 230 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
How they were out


Morne Morkel showed an improvement in form to pick up four wickets © Getty Images
Enlarge
 

Bangladesh may not be providing South Africa the most stern examination before Australia next month, but for the first time in this series they challenged the hosts with a combative performance to reach 250. Fifteen minutes before stumps on the first day at Centurion, Mashrafe Mortaza capped an encouraging day for Bangladesh with the wicket of Neil McKenzie for a duck.

Their performance today was in stark contrast to their dismal effort in Bloemfontein last week when they only managed to survive 88.3 overs in two innings. But this was a different story, with Junaid Siddique cracking 67 while Mushfiqur Rahim's elegantly crafted 65 lifted his side to their highest first-innings score since April 2006. There were signs of encouragement for Morne Morkel, the fast bowler who has struggled with his consistency, but again he mixed the sublime with the scattergun.

In fact, Bangladesh improved with each session. Choosing to bat on what is traditionally an encouraging surface for the seamers, and with South Africa calling up Monde Zondeki to replace Paul Harris, it seemed perfectly logical that they would succumb to their long-standing vulnerability to pace. Yet they showed early promise, particularly Junaid who took a liking to Dale Steyn, who had a poor day. Holding the pose, Junaid drove him casually down the ground while Tamim Iqbal nudged and nurdled singles, dispatching the occasional handsome cover-driven four.

Having struggled with his line and length, Morkel finally settled into a good rhythm to hit Junaid with a viper-spitting bouncer which hammered into his unprotected left arm. A fuller delivery accounted for Tamim on 31, who edged him behind, causing celebrations of relief from an embattled fast bowler. He followed it up with a slightly slower and fuller delivery to Mohammad Ashraful who, with concreted feet, offered a simple return catch.

A lunchtime score of 64 for 3 summed up the situation. Bangladesh had begun promisingly, only to throw it away before the interval, but Junaid continued to flourish after the break as South Africa were made to wait. Jacques Kallis produced several unplayables, gaining prodigious swing to Mehrab Hossain jnr, but as ever it was Makhaya Ntini who made the breakthrough when Mehrab was drawn into a loose swish outside his off stump.

Junaid grew in confidence, upper-cutting Kallis over point for a confident and tone-setting boundary, but he showed his true class when on the front foot. A sweetly timed off-drive sped for four off Ntini, bowling a touch too full, while Steyn - curiously ineffective throughout the day - was punched off the back foot for four more. A streaky, uppish cut flew past gully to bring up his third Test fifty, an elegant example of the talent in Bangladesh batsmanship.

At the other end, however, came evidence of Bangladesh's difficulties. Raqibul Hasan, making his debut, showed potential with a supremely elegant flick off his pads, but couldn't cope with Morkel's bounce, fending him to Smith for his second catch. Shakib-al-Hasan entertained with a cameo of 30 off 27 balls but Bangladesh needed rather more substance than a brief flurry.

And they received it from Mushfiqur, batting a little too low, frankly, at No. 8. With strong wrists and firm cuts, he batted with great aggression - driving Kallis beautifully for four; slapping another wide from Morkel through the same cover region before swinging Steyn for two sublime sixes over midwicket. He was dropped on 23 by Mark Boucher - one of two spills by the wicketkeeper - but two more fours off Steyn took him through to a superb fifty. His tenth-wicket partnership with Mahbubul Alam (who contributed just 1) of 56 spanned just 12 overs. South Africa were increasingly incensed, but were guilty of bowling too wide.

Granted, 250 is not a total to challenge one of the world's best line-ups, but Bangladesh ensured it was their day in the sun when Mortaza found a brute of a delivery to square up McKenzie. He could have had Hashim Amla, too, but the ball appeared to brush the batsman's pads rather than his glove down the leg side. Nevertheless, with South Africa trailing by 230, for the first time in this series Bangladesh have put up a fight.

Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Will Luke

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Will LukeClose
Will Luke Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.
Tour Results
South Africa v Bangladesh at Centurion - Nov 26-28, 2008
South Africa won by an innings and 48 runs
South Africa v Bangladesh at Bloemfontein - Nov 19-22, 2008
South Africa won by an innings and 129 runs
SAA Ch XI v Bangladeshis at Kimberley - Nov 15-16, 2008
Match drawn
South Africa v Bangladesh at East London - Nov 12, 2008
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
South Africa v Bangladesh at Benoni - Nov 9, 2008
South Africa won by 128 runs
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days