EAST LONDON – The Proteas’ public roasting of Bangladesh has moved on to East London, and the freshly installed number one ODI team in the world will be keen to keep the foot firmly on the accelerator on Sunday.
The Proteas have dominated Bangladesh to the extent that they have now seen fit to rest some of their biggest guns, because the brittle tourists are not worth a full complement.
There is still a very big summer programme to come, and the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Hashim Amla have been given some time off to refresh.
Whatever combination South Africa go with in East London, it should be plenty of firepower to get past the so-called Tigers.
AB de Villiers, back in South African colours, blasted his way to the top of the one-day batting rankings with his brutal 176 in Paarl, and there is no telling who will cash in against the tourists next.
With Amla being rested, the door is open for either Temba Bavuma or Aiden Markram to step into the breach at the top of the order. With little in the way of an actual challenge, the Proteas’ biggest problems are now based on who will play where for them.
Bavuma spent part of yesterday in Mdantsane, at a cloaching clinic alongside assistant coach Adrian Birrell.
The Test middle-order man will be itching to get among the runs soon, as he was one of very few who have not truly cashed in on the buffet spread that Bangladesh have provided.
With batting places increasingly at a premium in both the Test and one-day operations, he will hope to find form close to home, in the Eastern Cape.
Markram, who made an immediate impression in the Test series, was a hulking figure for the Titans last season in white-ball cricket, with some massive knocks on the way to their Momentum One-day Cup triumph.
Should he get an opportunity alongside fellow Titan Quinton de Kock, on the normally featherbed East London track, the Proteas may well go beyond 350 if they get to bat first.
Skipper Faf du Plessis has already expressed sympathy for the tourists’ bowlers, but one must also spare a thought for the South African middle- order.
They are seeing precious little time in the middle and, even when they do, there is very little pressure on them. That is a sure sign of their domination, but they would surely have anticipated Bangladesh to have a bit more backbone than they have shown thus far.
It has been completely one-sided, even on pitches that ought to have brought the two sides closer together.
The tracks in Kimberley, Paarl and East London are known to be on the slow side, and one may have expected to see the slow men of Bangladesh exert some measure of control.
They have been obliterated to all parts, and only a few of their batsmen have shown resistance.
The Proteas can only work with what is in front of them, and they must maintain professionalism and go again tomorrow.
The processes that new coach Ottis Gibson and skipper Faf du Plessis want to put in place may be on ice until India come with a proper challenge, it seems. But, until then, the South African top-order batsmen in particular will continue to cash in.
Play in East London will start at 10am.