Day 2 of 5
South Africa 573/4 dec
Bangladesh 147 and 7/0
BLOEMFONTEIN – The really memorable fielding moments leave you gasping in disbelief.
Jonty Rhodes running out Inzamam ul-Haq in 1992, Ben Stokes catching Adam Voges in the 2015 Ashes and Temba Bavuma’s elastic run out of David Warner in the Perth Test last November, all make for lasting memories.
All of those were game-changing moments too.
Bavuma’s amazing piece of athleticism here on Saturday certainly wasn’t series defining – Bangladesh have been too awful for that – but it will nevertheless remain as one of the highlights of the summer.
It was definitely deflating for the Bangladeshis who endured 120 painful overs in the field in which the Proteas scored at 4.7 runs an over and in particular for their beleaguered captain Mushfiqur Rahim who cut a disconsolate figure at the end of the first day admonishing his bowlers for their failure to utilise what little help there was in the surface after he’d won the toss.
So the sight of Bavuma flying to his right, hanging onto the ball with one hand and then the look of surprise on the fielder’s face that the ball had somehow stuck would have been particularly galling for the Bangladesh skipper.
While the South Africans celebrated – which was made up of vigorous shaking and head-rubbing of the fielder – Mushfiqur trudged off, head down, and his future as captain very much in the balance, if reports out of Bangladesh are to be believed.
Missing their best player, Shakib Al-Hasan, they have been devoid of confidence and for the most part strategy in this series. When they did employ a short ball plan on Friday, they were unable to sustain it.
They had no plan when South Africa’s bowlers, better physically equipped to utilise the bouncer, applied that tactic.
Mominul Haque fell to a short one from Duanne Olivier, while Imrul Kayes, Mahmadullah and Sabbir Rahman were undone by their fear of the bouncer.
For all of the touring team’s shortcomings, this young South African attack deserves credit, for being able to take advantage.
Rabada clearly enjoys the extra responsibility of being the attack’s leader and once he’d found his rhythm the Bangladeshis were hopping around.
He moved ahead of Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon as the year’s leading wicket-taker in Tests on 47 when he removed Sabbir Rahman and he extend his lead with the late dismissals of the gutsy Liton Das for 70 and Rubel Hossain for 10, which also gave him a sixth career ‘five-for’.
Olivier too relished taking the new ball, picking up two wickets in his first spell, though he wasn’t as menacing as Rabada.
Wayne Parnell and his bleached locks made an impact immediately when called upon by Du Plessis as he had Mahmadullah caught behind, but it wasn’t a spell that would have forced the hand of the national selectors.
He didn’t create enough pressure and there were a few too many freebies on offer for the batsmen.
Parnell needs more game time clearly – he had very little coming into this match, but the plethora of injuries suffered by the South African quicks left the selectors with little choice.
South Africa, still in front by a substantial 426 runs, rightly enforced the follow-on when they bowled out Bangladesh 15 minutes before the scheduled close of play.
They will look forward to finishing off this Test and series some time on Sunday.
It’s been a timely boost for the players confidence – particularly the batsmen – following the series loss in England. Tougher challenges await, however.