POTCHEFSTROOM - Independent Media cricket writer Stuart Hess has looked at the key moments, performances and factors from the Proteas' victory against Bangladesh in the first Test of the series.
Innings - Dean Elgar has been South Africa’s best batsman this year and given friendlier batting conditions (than the case was in England), less threatening opponents with the new ball and a more supportive opening partner, he cashed in with a career best 199 in the first innings. All of Elgar’s best characteristics were on display; patience, resilience and until his involvement in the Markram’s run out, team work. He needs 16 runs to reach 1 000 runs for the year.
Spell - Rabada was excellent on Friday morning, but it was Morne Morkel’s initial burst on Sunday that decisively tilted the match South Africa’s way. Operating from around the wicket - actually wider of the stumps than is normal - he knocked over Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque in the first over. He would have had Mushfiqur Rahim, too, but for the no-ball. Then came the side-strain and now he faces up to six weeks on the sideline. Its extremely unlucky for the big man who worked incredibly hard to get back in the game last year after a back injury which threatened to derail his entire career.
Catch - Liton Das’s effort to end Bavuma’s second innings is well worth watching again. Excellent anticipation, coupled with fine reflexes and he showed the smarts to hold the ball to his chest as he tumbled to the ground. It will take something very special from the keeper.
Hero - Elgar was rightly named Man of the Match, but Keshav Maharaj’s efforts are deserving of recognition, too. He finished with match figures of 7/117 following his second innings efforts of 4/25 from 10.1 overs. The seven wickets took him to 50 in his Test career - which is still less than a year old. Maharaj is tied with Aubrey Faulkner for the fastest to 50 wickets by a South African spinner. He has yet to play a match on the sub-continent.
Villain - Mushfiqur Rahim’s team were made to pay for their captain’s error at the toss. This was a pitch where his side should have been batting first. He never gave them that opportunity when he charitably invited the Proteas to have a first crack on a placid surface and it proved to be extremely costly.