There was greater reward for South Africa’s bowlers through middle session of the third day Saturday as the picked up four wickets to maintain a firm hold on this first Test against Bangladesh.
The tourists were on 308/8 at tea, still trailing the Proteas by 188 runs with Mehidy Hasan on 5 and Shafiul Islam yet to score.
South Africa’s bowlers deserve full credit for their patience on a surface lacking pace and bounce. It has taken great discipline and skill to achieve reward here, and the home team will look to rapidly build on their lead - once they wrap up Bangladesh’s innings - before hopefully taking advantage of a deteriorating surface.
The initial breakthrough didn’t take long after the lunch break, when Mominul Haque, was superbly caught at short leg by Aiden Markram who did very well to re-adjust his hands as he moved to his left. Mominul had registered a 12th Test half-century, but was eventually out for 77 with the tourists having only advanced their score by nine runs from their lunch-time total of 218/4.
The South Africans applied the screws giving little away with Morne Morkel and then Kagiso Rabada bowling a pair of aggressive spells from the University
End to back up Maharaj, who did a tidy job at the City End.
The next wicket came from an unlikely source. Duanne Olivier had been largely innocuous until Du Plessis pressed him into a spell demanding he hammer the old ball into the surface. It brought rewards when Sabbir Raham who’d scored 30 failed to deal with one that jumped from the surface bottom edging the ball onto his stumps.
The resolute Mahmudullah, had registered a 14th Test half-century, but he was the first victim of the second new ball, getting an inside edge onto his off-stump after scoring 66, that came in just under three hours at the crease, and saw him hit 11 fours and a six.
That wicket was deserved reward for the hardworking Morkel, and another wicket came at the start of the next when, though this time it was all down to the brilliance of Temba Bavuma who flung himself to his left to stop a drive from Mehidy Hasan at point, sprang to his feet and cleverly tossed the ball to the incoming Markram who removed the bails before Taskin Ahmed had made his ground.