Jacques Rudolph and Boeta Dippenaar gave their controversyplagued team a much-needed happiness tonic with a mammoth 323-run stand for the third wicket. By the close of play on the second day, South Africa led by 191, having added 280 runs without losing a wicket against a tattered bowling attack that lacked ideas, skill and support in the field.

Rudolph, who escaped a missed stumping when on 98, and Dippenaar, who was let-off when only 47, cashed in. They paced their partnership at the sedate rate of three runs an over, maintaining concentration throughout a sweltering, energysapping day that snuffed out even umpire Billy Bowden's flamboyant signalling. Rudolph went on to make the highest score by a South African batsman on Test debut, and Dippenaar notched his second Test century, as they became the first South African pair to bat through the day.

Rudolph and Dippenaar flexed their muscles only after tea, with Rudolph smashing Enamul Haque, the leg spinner, for the first six of the innings in the 98th over. Thereafter, they took heavy toll of a weary, demoralized side that had used eight bowlers without success.

Rudolph's off side batting was the highlight of the day. He repeatedly stepped out to drive boundaries through cover with pleasing balance and timing. Left-handed and standing erect in his stance with an upraised bat, his delightful footwork helped him negotiate the low, uneven bounce, on a pitch that promised to be a nightmare on the fourth day - if the match lasted that long.

Bangladesh's miserable day was compounded by Khaled Mahmud's baffling captaincy. He refused to take the new ball when it was due after tea, choosing to let his quick bowlers toil with a battered ball that was over 100-overs old. He himself set a bad example by bowling erratically, persisting in bowling short to the well-set batsmen.

In the morning session, Mahmud gave Mashrafe Mortaza just three overs and took him off just when he seemed to be settling into the rhythm that had been missing yesterday. Then, he switched Haque, Mortaza's replacement, to the other end after he had spun two balls sharply across Dippenaar's bat.

Alok Kapali, the leg spinner, was brought on after an inexplicable delay, and Mahmud made his - and Bangladesh's - day worse by dropping Dippenaar at first slip - a position normally manned by Habibul Bashar - in his first over.

Mohammad Salim, the wicket keeper, added to Bangladesh's woes, fumbling an easy leg side stumping when Rudolph - then on 98 - charged Mohammad Ashraful just before tea. He missed the ball completely, but so did Salim, to continue his side's embarrassing existence at the Test level.