• SA on verge of building lead

    July 23, 2015
    Dean Elgar

    A draw is on the cards after South Africa finished day three on 61 without loss, still 17 runs behind Bangladesh with two days to play in Chittagong.

    Dean Elgar (28) and Stiaan van Zyl (33) will continue batting on Friday after bad light stopped play early on Thursday.

    The duo looked comfortable on a wicket which continues to deteriorate and favour the bowlers. Unfortunately for Bangladesh, their bowlers haven’t been able to create a breakthrough as the visitors edge closer to start building a target.

    Time, however, is running out and the possibility of this Test having a winner gets smaller every time there is a rain delay. Barring a total batting collapse on either side, this one is heading towards a draw.

    South Africa had earlier on Thursday bowled out Bangladesh for 326, their highest ever Test score against the Proteas. It gave them a decent lead of 78 runs after the SA bowlers struggled throughout the morning to get regular wickets.

    It was a frustrating session after lunch for the visitors as Shakib Al Hasan (47) and Liton Das (50) shared an 82-run partnership. Simon Harmer finally broke the stand after he had Al Hasan caught by JP Duminy.

    Mohammad Shahid came to the crease and decided to put the bowlers under pressure by attacking them from the outset. He especially went after Simon Harmer and reached 25 off 19 balls before he was caught in the outfield by Stiaan van Zyl trying to go big.

    Shahid’s innings accelerated his team’s lead to 63 and allowed Das to reach his first international Test fifty.

    Although Hashim Amla dropped a catch in the slips towards the end, Dale Steyn managed to claim three wickets to close in on 400 Test victims. He needs just one more to get there and will become only the second South African after Shaun Pollock to reach the milestone.

    Elgar and Van Zyl will be minded to give the middle order the best platform possible on Friday as the likes of Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock are all under pressure to score runs.

    Erasing the deficit before losing a wicket will go a long way to setting up the rest of the innings.

    Van Zyl will also be looking to convert his start into a big score as he tries to establish himself at the top of the order.

    With Reeza Hendricks also in the Test squad Van Zyl will know his opportunities are few to prove he belongs as an opener.

    Full scorecard

    Picture: AFP



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