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November 28, 2008
South Africa 429 (Prince 162*, Boucher 117, Amla 71, Shakib 6-99) beat Bangladesh 250 (Junaid 67, Mushfiqur 65, Ntini 4-32, Morkel 4-73) and 131 by an innings and 48 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
How they were out
South Africa took only 36.4 overs to dismiss Bangladesh in Centurion, thereby completing an emphatic innings victory to seal a 2-0 series win. Ashwell Prince cracked an unbeaten 162 before South Africa's fast bowlers tore into Bangladesh's fragile line-up, dismissing them for an abject 131. Three panicky run-outs left Jamie Siddons, their coach, with his head on his hands; with no wins on the tour, it is unsure whether Bangladesh are better off for the experience.
What frustrates and perplexes is Bangladesh's ability to turn it on, and then throw it away. When the pressure is off (which it so rarely is) they are confident in their stroke-play and disciplined with the ball. Yet, put them in the position of conceding a 179-run lead, as they were today and they disintegrate without a trace. Makhaya Ntini, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel's barrage of intimidating bouncers was predictable, but the right tactic; Bangladesh's batsmen could not cope with accurate fast bowling, and the ensuing performance of their middle-order smacked of blind panic.
The subdued manner in which Mark Boucher accepted the final catch told a story in itself. But although his coach, Mickey Arthur, was concerned at South Africa's build-up to Australia next month, he needn't be too worried. Today's performance was as clinical and effective as he could hope for given the opposition.
The rift in class between the two teams was as wide as ever. After dismissing South Africa for 429, Bangladesh had to survive 15 minutes until lunch but, after the openers had worked so hard, Imrul Kayes fell to Ntini when he edged straight to slip. Junaid Siddique, who batted courageously in the first innings for 67, joined Tamim Iqbal and the pair was repeatedly peppered after the interval. Ntini's around-the-wicket ploy to Tamim was a favourite tactic, rapping the left-hander on the gloves three times.
Jacques Kallis, buoyed by his team-mates' fire at the other end, was in venomous form, passing the bat several times before yet another bumper had Junaid fending an easy catch to Hashim Amla at short-leg. Three overs later, Tamim's tortuous innings came to an end, when he drove Morkel uppishly behind square where Neil McKenzie took the catch of the series. It was his second sublime snaffle of the match, diving wide at backward point to catch the ball behind his body with his right hand.
Wickets continued to tumble and two run-outs demonstrated how panicky Bangladesh's batsmen were. A hopeless call for a second run from Mohammad Ashraful sent his partner, Mehrab Hossain jnr, packing to Amla's direct hit. And Ashraful himself was caught short by Steyn's strong arm as Bangladesh slumped to 77 for 6, still trailing by 102. Bangladesh's cricket today was of Associate standard, and their running would have embarrassed a school side.
The worst was yet to come, however, for Shakib Al Hasan uppercut a hopelessly wide delivery from Morkel straight down Ntini's throat at deep backward point. Had Shakib left it alone, Graeme Smith would have taken it at first slip, or possibly second. Siddons was not too happy on the balcony and it was difficult not to sympathise.
What made Bangladesh's performance all the more disappointing was the occasional excellence they showed. Prince and Mark Boucher continued to flay their attack in the first hour this morning, but Shakib - who bowled with great control yesterday - picked up three wickets in an over as South Africa's hopes of a 200-run lead were quickly extinguished. Bowling around the wicket, Shakib had Boucher caught at silly point and bowled Morkel for a golden duck, before Monde Zondeki - playing in his first Test in three years - was caught behind.
From 405 for 5 they dismissed South Africa for 429, but one man escaped: Prince, who moved onto his highest Test score. So often described as dogged, or the team's anchor, today Prince showed his dominant and free-flowing style - and was one of the only South Africa batsmen to attack Shakib. Shakib finished with 6 for 99, his third five-wicket haul and, curiously, South Africa's 429 was the highest total to include five ducks.
It rather summed up Bangladesh's fortunes: one step forward, two steps back. It is difficult to see them challenge Sri Lanka at home in December.
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