Mahmudul Hasan Joy earned high praise from Bangladesh batting coach Jamie Siddons after a marathon century on the third day of the first Test against the Proteas at Kingsmead on Saturday.
The 21-year-old opening batsman made 137 and became the first Bangladesh batsman to score a Test century against South Africa.
He was last man out in Bangladesh’s innings of 298.
The Proteas stretched their lead to 75 runs without losing a wicket before bad light stopped play.
“It was something really special for Bangladesh and I’m not sure there has been any better innings by a Bangladesh batsman in Test cricket,” said Siddons.
“Today’s innings was one of patience and a great gameplan. He didn’t try to play any expansive shots that weren’t in his repertoire and we’re all really proud of the way he went about it.
“He manipulated the field quite well. He hit over the top when the field was up and when they put a few at the back he knocked it for one. He was waiting for the bad ball and believing he could bat for six hours.”
Mahmudul was unruffled in only his third Test match as he calmly picked the right balls from which to score.
It took him six hours and 269 balls to reach his hundred and he continued to bat patiently until the eighth wicket fell.
Then he unleashed a flurry of strokes, hitting off-spinner Simon Harmer for a six and a four and a single in one over before striking four fours in the next over from Wiaan Mulder.
He was caught at slip off fast bowler Lizaad Williams after an innings lasting 443 minutes. He faced 326 balls and hit 14 fours and two sixes.
“I’ve only known him two months now and he was one of the boys who really caught my eye because of his talent, work ethic and patience,” said Siddons.
“No one really knows a lot about him unless you’ve been watching Bangladesh domestic cricket.”
Mahmudul was out for nought and six in his debut Test against Pakistan in Mirpur in December, but made 78 in Bangladesh’s win over New Zealand in Mount Maunganui in January.
Williams, who took 3-54 on debut, echoed Siddons’ comment.
“I don’t think we knew too much about him. But I do feel he had a good gameplan. He didn’t take the short ball on, he played spin well. When the field was up he went over, pushing the guys back and then milking the singles. Credit to him, he played really well.”
The pitch offered turn for the spinners and occasional low bounce for the seamers.
“There is a result in this wicket but it is going to require a lot of hard work from us,” said Williams.
Siddons said it was important that Bangladesh did not “overattack” on Sunday morning.
“We’re a little bit behind … 250 will be a hard chase.”
© Agence France-Presse