South Africa 283 for 8 (Kallis 50, Islam 3-60) beat Bangladesh 222 (Ashraful 73, Shakib 51, Steyn 4-16) by 61 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary
Dale Steyn laid down a marker for the season ahead and showed he is back to full health as he took a career-best 4 for 16 to help South Africa to a 61-run victory in the opening ODI. For a while, as Mohammad Ashraful was compiling a composed 73, the home side were being tested, but Steyn returned to claim two wickets in two balls and South Africa eased home. Their batting performance was made up of plenty of bit-part efforts and it needed a late onslaught from the lower order to boost the total to 283.
The main event for South Africa over the next few months is the home-and-away battle against Australia which starts next month. However, it is vital they use this early series, which they should be able to win comfortably, to fine-tune their game. In many ways this was a performance that showed they are still finding top gear as various batsmen gave away good starts and the bowlers, with the honourable exception of Steyn, were still trying to discover their rhythm - as 25 wides testifies.
The match turned into a more compelling contest than may have been expected as Bangladesh fought hard in the field and held some smart catches. They suffered during the final five overs, as South Africa held back the Powerplay that is now on offer for the batting team and slammed 66 runs off that block, leaving the Bangladesh batsmen with a tough challenge.
Under the floodlights there was swing for Steyn as he bent the ball back into the left handers at the top of the order. Imrul Kayes played a flat-footed drive that was well caught at mid-off by Hashim Amla, then a sharp inswinger trapped Junaid Siddique lbw. However, at the other end the pressure wasn't consistently maintained as Johann Louw proved expensive. One over to Ashraful was dispatched for 16 as he dropped too short and was pulled away.
The Morkel brothers struggled - Morne sending down four wides in his first over - as Ashraful and Tamim Iqbal added 54 in seven overs. But composure isn't one of Bangladesh's strong points, and a lazy piece of running from Iqbal handed South Africa a breakthrough. Ashraful edged the ball to third man and Iqbal jogged the first run without even looking at his captain, who had decided early he wanted two.
Morne Morkel then recovered from his early problems and produced a cracking delivery, pitching on off stump and holding its line, to remove Mushfiqur Rahim and leave the visitors on 77 for 4 before Ashraful found a solid partner in Shakib Al Hasan. Their stand of 92 in 20 overs put the pressure back on the home side with Ashraful, in particular, producing some classy boundaries when Louw returned for another expensive burst.
South Africa needed a breakthrough to settle the situation so Johan Botha turned back to Steyn with immediate results. He found Ashraful's outside edge off the first ball, then with his next delivery clipped Raqibul Hasan's off stump with a beauty that would have made better batsmen struggle. Shakib fell shortly after completing his fifty as the challenge faded away and the tail went down swinging.
The depth of South Africa's batting order proved a key factor in the outcome. At the midway mark they were comfortably placed, but Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers both gave their wickets away against Naeem Islam's off spin. JP Duminy was shaping as the key figure in the closing overs until he missed a reverse sweep and it was left to Botha, with 23 off 15 balls, and Louw to add the late impetus. Louw slammed his first two balls onto the grass banks, while Albie Morkel finally found the middle of his bat after scratching around for much of his effort.
Amla launched the innings with a string of off-side boundaries before being run out in controversial style. Justin Ontong was taken on the thigh pad, the ball rolled into the leg side and Amla raced up the pitch for a single. Ontong didn't move and sent Amla back, but as he turned he slipped and Mashrafe Mortaza collided into him as he tried to run across to field the ball.
Amla couldn't regain his feet, or his ground, and was well short but it was within Bangladesh's power to withdraw the appeal. Once that hadn't happened the umpire had no choice but to give Amla out, in a situation reminiscent of Grant Elliott's run-out against England at The Oval in June after he'd collided with Ryan Sidebottom. That incident created some ugly scenes, but tempers were less frayed on this occasion.
Each time a batsman became settled, Bangladesh found a breakthrough. de Villiers was well held, low down, at deep midwicket, Kallis top-edged a sweep to deep-backward square leg shortly after reaching his fifty off 72 balls and Boucher chipped to midwicket. It appeared South Africa would fall short of expectations. The late charge gave them breathing space, although they will be aware there is room for improvement.