Bangladesh vs South Africa | Thursday 30 July - Monday 03 August | Dhaka | 05:30
The first Test between hosts Bangladesh and visitors South Africa was rained out on the brink of getting interesting. The Tigers had a marginal first innings lead while the Proteas had begun to look more like the number one team in Test cricket. Bangladesh made huge strides in the first Test to complement the marked improvements they have made in the ODI form of the game. With rain once again destined to play a part in the middle of monsoon season, the second Test may suffer the same fate as the first.
To Win Match
South Africa 14/10
Many of the Bangladeshi players firmly believe they were in the driving seat when rain ended the first Test and are adamant that they could’ve won the match. There is no telling what might’ve happened but their performance in Chittagong was undoubtedly their most positive Test match against South Africa in thirteen years. The Bangladeshi batsmen are certainly benefitting from the freedom granted them and managed to blunt the much vaunted South African pace attack effectively. They inevitably lost wickets to the part-timers, probably lulled into a false sense of security with the bowling changes, but all of Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah and Liton Das recorded half-centuries. Their bowling attack lacked penetration in the opening session but returned with aplomb, strangling the South Africans for runs and capitalising on the build-up of pressure. Mustafizur took the bull by the horns after a couple of wickets went down and literally mowed through the South African middle-order in his fourteenth over. The left-arm seamer has a bright and long future and is a serious danger to all who take him lightly. He became the first cricketer to pick up Man of the Match awards on both his ODI and Test debuts. Mohammad Shahid won’t be lauded in the same manner but was equally important in South Africa’s downfall. He kept a strict off-stump line that yielded fifty dot balls in a row and at one stage bowled six maidens in one spell. The tactic to frustrate South Africa is clear and will likely be employed again in Dhaka.
The Proteas looked undercooked in their first Test in six months, and first without AB de Villiers in over a decade. Replacement Temba Bavuma was the only one of the South African batsmen to pass fifty as a decent first session imploded after lunch on the first day. South Africa lost their last nine wickets for only 112 runs and found themselves with ball in hand on the first evening after electing to bat at the toss. On day two, the Proteas struggled to find the correct length on the slow pitch and did little to trouble Bangladesh’s top order. Quinton de Kock was fined for shoulder-barging Tamim Iqbal, who became quite irate at the crease. He was also involved in the Rilee Rossouw incident in the one-day series and is a confrontational character who enjoys a bit of niggle. Upon resumption on the third day, the South African attack found their radar and wrapped up the Bangladesh tail fairly quickly. Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl wiped off the majority of the first innings deficit before the match was abandoned, prompting captain Hashim Amla to announce that the Proteas were in control of the Test, especially considering that the hosts would have to bat last. Dale Steyn picked up a few wickets after a miserable beginning and is now one away from 400 Test wickets.
The end of the tour moves back to Dhaka, the scene of the T20 and early ODI encounters. The pitch then was slow and sticky and proved a difficult ground to score on. Bangladesh have only ever won one Test at the ground, against Zimbabwe in 2014. As mentioned, there is rain expected every day of the Test and a result appears unlikely.
VERDICT: Draw 13/20
As frustrating as it has been to predict draws for both Tests, the weather looks unlikely to abate long enough to produce a result. With the rain comes cloud cover and bad light and it is simply the wrong time of year to be playing cricket in the country. Back the draw early, the price will only shorten.