First Test Match

Bangladesh v South Africa

Brian Murgatroyd

At Chittagong, April 24, 25, 26, 27, 2003. South Africa won by an innings and 60 runs. Toss: Bangladesh. Test debuts: Mohammad Salim; A. C. Dawson, J. A. Rudolph, C. M. Willoughby.

Fifteen months earlier, he was selected to make his Test debut at Sydney, and then left out at the last minute because of South Africa's racial quota system. Two months before that, he played in the Test against India denied official status. Now, Jacques Rudolph finally made his Test debut - and he made quite an impression. Rudolph stroked a brilliant 222 not out and shared in an unbroken third-wicket partnership with Dippenaar of 429 that effectively ended the game as a contest on the second day. South Africa lost only two wickets in storming to an innings victory.

Aside from Rudolph, South Africa gave debuts to Alan Dawson, the 33-year-old seamer, and the left-arm swing bowler Charl Willoughby. Bangladesh introduced a new wicket-keeper in Mohammad Salim. Two of their more experienced players, the obdurate Javed Omar and the more aggressive Habibul Bashar, batted with determination on the first morning to go to lunch at 78 for one. But two hours later the scoreboard told a more familiar tale: Bangladesh were all out for 173, undone by a resurgent Adams, whose five for 37 included the usual mix of long-hops, full tosses and unplayable deliveries.

The early wickets of Smith and Gibbs gave Bangladesh some encouragement, but those were to be their only rewards as they toiled in intense heat for a further 123 overs while 429 runs were scored. In that time, Rudolph and Dippenaar became the first South African pair to bat through an entire day, taking the score from 84 to 364.

Rudolph displayed a controlled aggression born of waiting his turn. He survived a stumping chance on 98 off Mohammad Ashraful; unperturbed, he stroked the next delivery through the covers to become the second South African after Andrew Hudson to make a century on Test debut.

Like Dippenaar, Rudolph is slightly built. He stands upright at the crease and has quick feet, sound balance and a superb eye - all of which served him well on a wearing pitch as he used sweet timing to pierce the field almost at will. Dippenaar, whose second hundred in Tests came two and a half years and 13 Tests after his first, was content to play second fiddle throughout the record-breaking stand. When the pair went past 368 they eclipsed the previous highest for any wicket by South Africa, set by Smith and Gibbs against Pakistan just four months earlier.

A flurry of hitting on the third morning saw the score advance by 106 in 19 overs. Rudolph was struck behind the ear by a bouncer from Mashrafe bin Mortaza, but was soon on his feet and brought up a memorable double-century with a sweetly struck cover-drive and a nudge for one. The declaration came shortly before lunch, leaving the sixth-largest partnership in Test history unbroken and Bangladesh needing 297 to avoid yet another innings defeat. Rudolph had also become the fifth player to score a double-century on Test debut. In all, he struck 29 fours and two sixes from 383 balls, in 521 minutes.

There was much to admire in Bangladesh's second innings. Once again Omar and Bashar showed resilience in a partnership of 131 in 39 overs. Bashar's aggression was refreshing, if a little ill-conceived at times, and he carved out his second half-century of the match before edging a drive off Pollock. Omar lasted four hours and 20 minutes before he was caught behind for 71. Adams then struck twice before the close of the third day to leave Bangladesh on 185 for five.

A brief cameo from Ashraful and a bruising half-hour for Akram Khan offered little hope on the fourth morning; Adams completed his first ten-wicket haul in Tests, and South Africa wrapped up the match within the first hour.

© John Wisden & Co