“I still believe that Bangladesh will come out and try to prove a point, and try to get back into this tour,” JP Duminy warned on Saturday. Photo: Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

Regardless of whatever team South Africa decide to play at Buffalo Park on Sunday morning, it is expected that the XI will have enough in the tank to dispose of Bangladesh and complete a clean sweep in the one-day international series.

“Something that we spoke about before the series started was that we wanted to walk away with a 3-0,” senior player JP Duminy told media in East London on Saturday.

“That is still our main focus. Yes, we have had two amazing games, but it doesn’t take away from our main goal, which is to put in a solid performance to finish off the series.”

Indeed, it may only require half of the South African team to actually put in a proper shift in order to overcome the tourists, given what we have seen thus far.

There was a genuine feeling of intrigue about Bangladesh when the itinerary for their trip here was announced.

They were playing competitive cricket, and had started gathering more and more wins of relevance against top-tier opposition.

On the outback grounds of South Africa, we expected them to stand up and give the Proteas a sweat, and give a proud account of themselves.

How wrong we were. Duminy, gentleman that he is, still holds hope for a spirited Bangladesh display in East London, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

“We have put a lot of focus on what we are trying to achieve, and fortunately we have blown them away in all departments. I still believe that Bangladesh will come out and try to prove a point, and try to get back into this tour,” he warned.

For their part, the Proteas couldn’t have done too much more. Runs have been plundered by anyone who has stayed at the crease beyond the 15 minutes of acclimatisation.

The bowlers have been disciplined, and the fielding has been sure, if not spectacular.

It is easy for standards to get a bit sloppy when the competition is absent, but the Proteas have their own priorities.

The injection of new blood into the squad also helps, because the arrival of a young Wiaan Mulder and an Aiden Markram must surely take some players back to when it all began for them.

AB de Villiers even said his knock in Paarl felt like his first game again.

Granted, it has been long enough, but that renewed vigour will be pleasing to those who are making plans around the veteran maverick.

For the visitors, only pride is left to be less dented. They have been abysmal, and injuries have also come in to make sure that the depressing drizzle in the dressing room has become a downpour.

Mashrafe Mortaza has a massive task to try and cajole an honest shift from a team whose heads may well be in Dhaka already, wincing in shame.

The Proteas have already risen to number one in the ICC rankings, but they will want to finish strongly and keep the Ottis Gibson momentum going.

It has been too easy, far easier than it will be this season, of course.

But all you can do is play what is put in front of you. And in that sense, the Proteas have been exemplary.

They will look to dig the dagger in a bit deeper at an expectant Buffalo Park.

Likely Teams

South Africa: Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis (captain), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Andile Phehlukwayo, Wiaan Mulder, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson, Imran Tahir.

Bangladesh: Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Rubel Hossain, Mominul Haque, Shafiul Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Saifuddin.

 

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