Three wickets in 19 ferocious deliveries from Kagiso Rabada destroyed Bangladesh’s resistance as the Proteas wrapped up the first Test before lunch.
It took just 12 balls to make the breakthrough on the final day as Bangladesh resumed on 49-3, trailing by 375. Rabada extracted good bounce in his first over from what had been a placid pitch, first to rap Mushfiqur Rahim on the knuckle,s and then induce a prodded edge which Hashim Alma took spectacularly above his head in the slips.
Rabada had obviously heeded the warnings about play possibly being curtailed by rain and brought his cold-steel streak to the occasion. He peppered Liton Das with a series of short balls, and in the following over speared one into the corridor of uncertainty, which Mahmudullah chopped on. Gone for nine and Bangladesh were 62-5.
How much the peppering unsettled Das was possibly revealed when, four balls later, he shouldered arms to a ball that pitched just outside off, angling in. Das was plumb in front, his bat reaching for the sky in surrender.
Two lbw decisions to Keshav Maharaj, one that turned, and one that didn’t, had Bangladesh on the ropes at 71-8. One run-out effected by Rabada’s pin-point throw, and a final caught-and-bowled for Maharaj, and that was it: South Africa winning by 333 runs.
Maharaj ended with 4-25, and in doing so became the fastest spinner to 50 wickets since readmission, but the honours went to Rabada’s rampage.
The Proteas can look back with great satisfaction at this Test. They made things happen when little was going for them, and they were able to penetrate at important times, so while the Bangladeshis did well to get themselves in, none was able to kick on to a big score. Once the outer shell had been cracked, the vulnerable underbelly was exposed to some intense bowling.
Nevertheless, Proteas coach Ottis Gibson admitted he was surprised at the type of wicket that had been presented to his pace attack: one on which Bangladesh felt at home. He would probably prefer something a bit more lively in Bloemfontein, venue for the second and final Test, starting on Friday.
SA (1st innings) 496-3 declared – Dean Elgar 199, Hashim Amla 137, Aiden Markram 97
Bangladesh (1st innings) 320 – Mushfiqur Rahim 44, Mominul Haque 77, Mahmudullah 66
SA (2nd innings) 247-6 declared – Faf du Plessis 81, Temba Bavuma 71, Mominul Haque 3-27
Bangladesh (2nd innings) 49-3 – Imrul Kayes 32, Kagiso Rabada 3-33, Keshav Maharaj 4-25, Morne Morkel 2-19
South Africa won by 333 runs
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images