October 26, 2002

South Africa in control as Bangladesh toil

South Africa took the Castle/MTN second Test against Bangladesh by the scruff of the neck with three hundreds in a total of 414/2 at the end of day two in Potchefstroom.

Starting the day at 61/1, Herschelle Gibbs and Gary Kirsten attacked from the first over with first Kirsten finding the boundary cutting wicket taker Sanwar Hossain past backward point and then Hossain faced further aggression from Gibbs, twice lofting the leg spinner over the mid wicket fence, the second to go to his 11th Test fifty.

The hundred partnership came up with two glorious drives from Kirsten. Kirsten so effective with a straight bat, as to the bat coming through at a 45 degree angle, stroked seven boundaries and a six in going to his 28th fifty.

Gibbs, however, grabbed the attention, scoring his seventh Test hundred off the final ball of the morning session. Uncharacteristically showing a bit of the nervous nineties, he went to his hundred in 161 balls with 16 boundaries and two sixes.

Tapash Baisya, with the help of Gibbs, engineered the break through for Bangladesh. A direct hit from the fielder ran out a lazy Gibbs who, had he grounded his bat, might still be batting. A surprised Gibbs left the field after a magnificent 114 and a partnership of a 141 with Kirsten. South Africa two down for 202.

Kallis was very lucky and hopefully embarrassed that he was still at the wicket. Attempting a very late cut off Sanwar Hossain, he almost bladed the ball into the keeper's gloves. Thunderous appeals brought no reaction from umpire Russell Tiffen, and even less of a reaction from Kallis, who at that stage had 36 to his name. Some stern words were exchanged between some of the disappointed fielders and Kallis. The less said about players who do not walk in situations like this, the better.

Gary Kirsten went to his 16th Test hundred and second of the series in 256 minutes, including 12 boundaries and a six. A chanceless innings that will make his critics sit up and take notice plus showing that he still has a lot to offer South African cricket. By stumps he had taken his score to 154.

Kallis scored his 10th Test hundred, becoming the third leading centurion in South African Test cricket.

For the Bangladesh bowlers there was no mercy. Bowling on a pitch that was flatter than the Ben Schoeman highway they tried very hard and succeeded, in a manner of speaking, by restricting the South Africans to under four runs an over.

With some cracks starting to appear in the pitch tomorrow might be slightly different, but whatever happens, Bangladesh are going to have a huge total to chase when called on to bat again.