South Africa vs Bangladesh: First Test Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

South Africa and Bangladesh will clash at Senwes Park from Thursday in the first of a two-match Test series. 

Ottis Gibson will take charge of the Proteas for the first time when they welcome Bangladesh to picturesque Senwes Park in the North West.

Although South Africa are expected to win quite comfortably, Mushfiqur Rahim and his band of Bangladeshi raiders will be eyeing what will be a massive upset.

South Africa vs Bangladesh | 28 September – 2 October | Senwes Park, North West Province

To Win Match
South Africa 3/10 | Draw 9/2 | Bangladesh 7/1

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South Africa
South African fans will finally get to see Aiden Markram in the Test arena, with Faf du Plessis confirming that the 22-year-old will play against the touring Bangladeshis. He was once again in sparkling form last week for the Titans in their drawn match against the Hollywoodbets Dolphins, notching up scores of 119 and 87 as he picked up the Man of the Match award.

The young gun will provide a bit more impetus at the top of the order while Dean Elgar is expected to be his regular circumspect self. The two have played together before and could definitely provide the answer to South Africa’s top order woes since the retirement of Graeme Smith.

Running through the rest of the squad, the all-rounder duo of Wayne Parnell and Andile Phelukwayo have both been included. We may well see the young Dolphins man crack the nod ahead of Parnell, who hasn’t played a first-class game since April.

The final question that needs to be answered is whether or not to play the extra bowler – Duanne Olivier in this case – ahead of Theunis de Bruyn who scored a magnificent 195 for the Knights against the Cobras last week. Whether or not the extra bowler will be needed at Senwes Park remains in doubt, especially against a Sub-Continent side.

Du Plessis will be more than happy to rotate his seamers at one end while Keshav Maharaj – who is happy to bowl monster spells – holds down the fort at the other end. Hopefully, we’ll see two new caps handed out tomorrow with Parnell and Olivier unlucky to miss out.

The confidence gained by the Bangladeshis after their drawn home series against Australia would have taken hit with the news that star all-rounder, Shakib Al Hasan, who has been granted a break from Test cricket by the BCB.

For the visitors then, improving on their previous four Tests in the Republic is a must. They’ve suffered innings defeats in all of their Tests on South African soil, with the largest of those – perhaps ominously – taking place in Potchefstroom in October 2002.

Jacques Kallis starred in that match with a particularly devastating spell in the second innings in which he bagged five wickets in just 4.4 overs to accompany a fine 139*. Don’t expect a hiding of that magnitude this time around.

They next visited in 2008 where Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur, Imrul Kayes were all part of a squad that lost 2-0. They now boast a much stronger seam attack with the likes of Taskin Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman – both of whom are just 22 years old – making waves in both limited overs and Test cricket.

The biggest difficulty that the visitors will face, however, will be with the bat. Whether or not they’ll be able to deal with the pace and bounce of Morkel and Rabada or the guile of Phelukwayo / Parnell remains to be seen. Without Shakib in the side, much of the responsibility to score the runs will fall on the shoulders of Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah, Mushfiqur and to a lesser extent, Sabbir Rahman.

Whether or not these guys will be able to get the job done in seam-friendly conditions remains to be seen. Don't expect them to pull up any trees, though

Verdict: South Africa 3/10
While they’re a formidable unit at home and in the Sub-Continent, I simply don’t see this Bangladeshi team causing too many problems for the South Africans, who have all had a bit of first-class cricket over the last week or so.