Second Test Match

Bangladesh v South Africa

Brian Murgatroyd

At Dhaka, May 1, 2, 3, 4, 2003. South Africa won by an innings and 18 runs. Toss: South Africa. Test debut: R. J. Peterson.

Encouraged by Adams's success in Chittagong, South Africa brought in a second spinner, giving a debut to the left-armer, Robin Peterson. Bangladesh swapped slow left-armers, recalling Mohammad Rafiq for Enamul Haque. The match followed a similar pattern to the first, and only rain on the second day prevented a three-day finish. Yet despite the lopsided result, Bangladesh had much to encourage them. They reduced South Africa to 63 for four on the first day, and with better support for Rafiq might have caused deeper embarrassment.

Rudolph and Boucher had the task of rebuilding South Africa's first innings, and they did so cautiously on a pitch that turned sharply from the outset. Rudolph took up where he left off in the First Test and stroked the ball around the ground with ease. Boucher, South Africa's best player of spin, used his feet to good effect in hitting down the ground as the pair added 107 for the fifth wicket. A confident Rafiq bowled most of the afternoon and was seldom dominated.

Some typically positive batting by Pollock helped nurse a nervous Peterson, and a relieved South Africa, to 264 for six at the close. Peterson was left to fend for himself after just two balls on the second day, however, when Pollock was trapped in front by Mashrafe bin Mortaza. He shouldered the responsibility with aplomb, cutting and driving his way to a half-century, and dragging the South African innings to respectability at 330. Rafiq finished with six for 77, the best Test figures by a Bangladeshi.

In reply, and not for the first time in their dismal Test history, the Bangladesh batsmen capitulated without resolve or resistance. Pollock and Ntini exploited the moist conditions to strike four times between them in the opening stages. The run-out of Alok Kapali with his side in dire straits at 62 for four typified the desperation. Only the captain Khaled Mahmud stood firm as Peterson and Dawson swept the tail away in eight overs. South Africa's dominance was illustrated by the fact that their First Test hero Adams bowled just one over.

The run-out of the out-of-touch Mehrab Hossain in the 22nd over of Bangladesh's follow-on hinted at further panic and frustration: five of the top six got sound starts only to squander their hard work. Akram Khan batted like a man on the verge of retirement as he smashed 23 from 23 balls, including three successive boundaries off Ntini, and Habibul Bashar battled for two hours in making 33. When Mahmud departed two overs later for a duck, the capitulation looked complete. But Kapali and Mohammad Salim applied themselves bravely as the South African bowlers showed signs of wilting in the heat, and by the close Bangladesh needed just 24 to make South Africa bat again.

The task proved too much and, with rain threatening, Pollock removed Salim and Mortaza in the third over of the day to consign Bangladesh to yet another innings defeat. There was just enough evidence to suggest that all was not totally lost for Bangladesh, but for a new-look South African team, under a youthful but bullishly confident captain, the series was an ideal work-out ahead of a gruelling three-month tour of England.

© John Wisden & Co