The Proteas bowlers struck to leave Bangladesh three wickets down and 369 runs adrift at stumps on day two in Potchefstroom. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Some might question the Proteas’ tactics in the period after lunch. Some might question Faf du Plessis’ decision to declare on the stroke of tea with the scoreboard reading 496-3.
The conditions at Senwes Park have been ideal for batting over the past two days. South Africa may well have boosted their total to 600-plus if they had batted on to the close of play.
That said, the Proteas have played themselves into a commanding position. Du Plessis’ decision to declare was vindicated when the South African bowlers dismissed both Bangladesh openers in relatively quick succession and then the captain Mushfiqur Rahim before stumps.
Bangladesh will have it all to do on day three. They still need 169 runs to avoid the follow-on. How they must regret the decision to bowl first on what’s proved to be a flat deck at Senwes Park.
Dean Elgar and Hashim Amla were in complete control over the course of the first session on day two, adding 113 runs to the overnight score. The pair put on 215 runs for the second wicket before Amla played a loose stroke and was caught in the gully.
Amla moved up to second on the list of South African centurions when he smashed his 27th Test ton. His departure three balls after lunch, however, gave Bangladesh some hope. The visitors proceeded to apply the pressure and the flow of runs came to a halt.
Elgar had batted beautifully up to that point. The gritty left-handed batsman surpassed his previous best score of 140 earlier in the day. He looked destined to score his maiden double century.
Temba Bavuma struggled when he first came to the wicket. Perhaps the Proteas – who were looking for quick runs at that point – would have been better served by promoting more aggressive batsmen such as Du Plessis or Quinton de Kock.
Elgar began to feel the pressure. In an effort to reach his double hundred, he attempted to hit Mustafizur Rahman on to the leg side for a single. The ball caught the top edge and the relatively easy catch was taken. After a day-and-a-half at the crease, Elgar’s stand had come to an end.
The Proteas bowlers showed more urgency than their Bangladesh counterparts. Both Kagiso Rabada and Morné Morkel managed to extract some bounce out of the seemingly placid track.
A vicious delivery by Rabada proved the undoing of Imrul Kayes in the sixth over. Morkel had Liton Das caught in the slips soon afterwards.
Keshav Maharaj hit some good areas and got the ball to turn away from the right-handed batsman. Mushfiqur Rahim was put down twice in the slips by Dean Elgar.
The spinner was eventually rewarded for his efforts when he had Mushfiqur caught by Aiden Markram at bat-pad. On this occasion, Maharaj got the ball to drift into the right-handed batsman and find the inside edge.
Du Plessis would do well to enforce the follow-on if he has the opportunity to do so on day three. Rain is forecast for Sunday, and a significant amount of time may be lost as a result.
SA 496-3 declared (1st innings) – Dean Elgar 199, Hashim Amla 137, Aiden Markram 97
Bangladesh 127-3 (1st innings) – Mushfiqur Rahim 44, Mominul Haque 28 not out, Kagiso Rabada 1-23
Bangladesh trail by 369 runs
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