Tour review

Bangladesh v South Africa, 2015


Mustafizur Rahman is mobbed by his team-mates after he removed JP Duminy, Bangladesh v South Africa, 1st Test, Chittagong, 1st day, July 21, 2015
Mustafizur Rahman starred on debut by claiming four wickets in the first Test © AFP
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Twenty20 internationals (2): Bangladesh 0, South Africa 2
One-day internationals (3): Bangladesh 2, South Africa 1
Test matches (2): Bangladesh 0, South Africa 0

It was a tour dominated by one question: were Bangladesh really as good as their run to a World Cup quarter-final, and subsequent one-day beatings of Pakistan and India, suggested? The answer was yes. This looked like the most talented crop of players in the country's 15 years as an ICC Full Member.

Bangladesh also broke new ground during the one-day series: their victory in the second game confirmed their place in the 2017 Champions Trophy, now restricted to the eight top-ranked teams. And, while they remained better suited to the shorter formats, there seemed every reason to believe they would finally be able to compete at Test level.

A second question cropped up repeatedly too: why had cricket been scheduled in the middle of the Asian monsoon? Two of the three ODIs were affected by rain, though all produced easy wins for the team batting second after losing the toss on turning pitches. However, just four days' Test cricket went ahead out of a possible ten. The boards of both countries responded with a shrug, lamenting the lack of windows in the fixture list, especially for the smaller nations; locals also pointed out that the last two monsoon seasons had been unusually dry. The South Africans were left vexed when their lead at the top of the Test rankings was cut by five points, punishment for drawing against a lower-ranked team.

They had arrived seeking a new Test opener and a frontline spinner, as well as a one-day all-rounder to come in at No. 7. Ryan McLaren and Wayne Parnell were widely tipped to go head to head for that spot, but McLaren never played a match and both were dropped on their return home. Farhaan Behardien played instead in all three games. Stiaan van Zyl made a strong impression as Dean Elgar's new Test opening partner - his medium-pace was a bonus - and off-spinner Simon Harmer looked steady at the highest level, even if he reaffirmed the impression that he was unlikely to bowl many teams out.

The selectors were hoping that Quinton de Kock would return to form in all formats. They clearly had their doubts, though, and included Dane Vilas, another wicketkeeper-batsman, in the Test party. De Kock's batting was patchy against the white ball and, despite his glovework looking neater than ever in the First Test, he made a duck and had a physical set-to with Tamim Iqbal; it was no surprise when Vilas made his debut at Mirpur. A. B. de Villiers, meanwhile, had already returned home after the two Twenty20s, ending his run of 98 consecutive Tests - a record from debut, but some way short of Allan Border's all-time mark of 153.

De Kock was not the only one to lose his temper. Rilee Rossouw got involved in a shoulder-barging incident, again with Tamim, during the one-day series, and was swiftly punished. Sekandar Ali, a reporter for newspaper Alokito Bangladesh, was assaulted by security personnel for not having media accreditation during a Bangladesh training session, even though none had been issued. And, before the series had started, the Bangladesh Cricket Board asked Cricket South Africa to stop flying a camera drone which had been filming for their YouTube channel, because Bangladeshi law did not permit unmanned objects in its airspace.

Match reports for

Tour Match: Bangladesh Cricket Board XI v South Africans at Fatullah, Jul 3, 2015
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1st T20I: Bangladesh v South Africa at Dhaka, Jul 5, 2015
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2nd T20I: Bangladesh v South Africa at Dhaka, Jul 7, 2015
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1st ODI: Bangladesh v South Africa at Dhaka, Jul 10, 2015
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2nd ODI: Bangladesh v South Africa at Dhaka, Jul 12, 2015
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3rd ODI: Bangladesh v South Africa at Chattogram, Jul 15, 2015
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1st Test: Bangladesh v South Africa at Chattogram, Jul 21-25, 2015
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2nd Test: Bangladesh v South Africa at Dhaka, Jul 30-Aug 3, 2015
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© John Wisden & Co