First Test Match

South Africa v Bangladesh

At East London, October 18, 19, 20, 21, 2002. South Africa won by an innings and 107 runs. Toss: Bangladesh. Test debut: M. van Jaarsveld.

Given the three thrashings Bangladesh had just suffered in the one-day series and their dire Test record - one draw and 12 defeats - they cannot have been brimful of confidence. It might have been unkind of one South African journalist to report that Bangladesh won the toss and "refused to bat". Even so, the timid gesture spoke volumes about their frame of mind.

In his defence, Khaled Masud could cite a humid morning and a green pitch at Buffalo Park, hosting its first Test, though critics might have countered that Shaun Pollock's absence with a knee injury left the South African attack vulnerable. However, the Bangladesh bowlers struggled to exploit the helpful, swinging conditions and, by the first-day close, South Africa were in complete command at 369 for two. Graeme Smith had just converted his first Test hundred into a double when, having faced 287 balls in 338 minutes and hit precisely half his runs in fours, he lofted to mid-on. By then, Kirsten had become the first batsman to score centuries against nine Test opponents. He and Smith had added 272 for the second wicket as batting eased to the extremely comfortable. The benign conditions also allowed debutant Martin van Jaarsveld to settle himself into Test cricket, and he had scored an unfussy 39 not out by the time Boucher, standing in as captain on his home ground, declared at 529 for four.

Ntini, Boucher's Border team-mate, then precipitated Bangladesh's rapid spiral towards defeat. He produced a fiery spell of pace and bounce, taking three for 13 in ten overs as Bangladesh hobbled to stumps. By the time the innings ended at 170 early on the third morning, Ntini had five for 19, and Bangladesh were about to bat again, 359 behind.

Their second innings was a grittier, more determined effort, and they succeeded in frustrating the South Africans by taking the match into a fourth day. Opener Al Sahariar hit a career-best 71, and Sanwar Hossain also made the bowlers work for his wicket before falling within spitting distance of a maiden Test fifty. But the frustrater-in-chief was Masud, who held out for nearly three and a half hours. He departed as soon as the flame-haired Terbrugge took the second new ball on the fourth morning, on his way to collecting five in a Test innings for the first time. South Africa were soon celebrating a straightforward win.

Man of the Match: G. C. Smith. Attendance: 11,698.

Close of play: First day, South Africa 369-2 (Kirsten 113, Kallis 1); Second day, Bangladesh 153-7 (Mohammad Rafiq 10, Tapash Baisya 1); Third day, Bangladesh 209-5 (Khaled Masud 32, Alok Kapali 9).

© John Wisden & Co