The only real question in the second Test against Bangladesh is, when will the Proteas declare?
This is on the assumption that the Bangladeshis will not come out with fire and fury and smash through the Proteas lineup. They showed little appetite for that on the first day, when the Proteas rattled up 423-3 at 4.7 an over; and of the three wickets that fell, two were soft.
The visitors seemed to adopt a strategy of sorts later in the day, using the extra bounce of the Bloemfontein pitch to pepper the batsmen with short balls, and while Dean Elgar (113) and Temba Bavuma (7) fell to rising deliveries, Faf du Plessis, now on 62 off 92 and Hashim Amla 89 off 99, were more than capable to deal with the threat.
The only really world-class wicket was that sent down by Rubel Hossain, which swung through the defence of Aiden Markram, on 143 in onlyt his second Test.
At this rate, it will take just 40 overs for the Proteas to go through the 600-run mark, a position from which they are unlikely to lose. That’s starting from when they get on the field. The start of the match was delayed by rain and more is expected throughout the day. The ruthless scenario would be to declare as soon as possible and unleash the pace bowlers on what looks like a dispirited side.
There can be no more damning statement than that from the Bangladesh captain, Mushfiqur Rahim, who said: ‘I am not able to motivate my players or guide my bowlers.’
It will take something really special from Bangladesh, or a lot of rain, to change the course of this match.
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