Visitors Bangladesh will look to pull up a much better performance when they take on hosts South Africa in the second and final Test of the series at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, now also known as Gqeberha, starting Friday.
Bangladesh will be particularly eager to come in a better shape with the bat having conceded a 220-run defeat in the first game on the back of a horrific batting debacle in the fourth innings in Durban.
The tourists were spun out of the game by Proteas spin duo Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer.
Chasing 274, Bangladesh batters could post only 53 runs – their second lowest total in the format.
Like every time, the failure has once again seen the media flush out controversies from the dressing room, particularly between the players and the coaching team, and the source like always has been one unknown Bangladesh Cricket Board influential.
The Bangladesh team in South Africa can put these aside, rectify the mistakes with strategies in the batting unit and take inspiration from the fast-bowling unit that was magnificent in the first Test despite the defeat.
The occasion was only the fourth Bangladesh took 20 wickets away from home in a Test.
It was only the second time in the last three Tests that the fast bowlers picked more than 10 wickets in the game.
Right-arm pacer Khaled Ahmed led the counter in the first innings after South Africa got off to a good start.
Another right-arm quick Ebadat Hossain maintained decency in both innings while Taskin Ahmed inspired the unit by bagging two crucial wickets in the second innings.
Bangladesh in the second match will miss out on the services of Taskin due to shoulder injury.
Bangladesh fast bowling coach Allan Donald said the performance in Durban from the pacers can be formula for success in the second game.
“I think the Bangladesh seamers can be very proud of the way they conducted themselves in the first Test,” Donald said.
“I think we were feeling our way into it a little bit. Once we settled down, it was very good. We spoke about bowling in partnerships. It was a fantastic performance from all the seamers. The way Khaled got into the team, the way Ebadat bowled,” said former South African pacer Donald who is the highest wicket taker at St George’s Park.
“It is a ground where you have to be very creative as a bowler. As the innings goes on, the track will get flatter. From a fast-bowling perspective, you must have something up your sleeve. You have to put your hand up and be brave. Try different things. Dale Steyn showed here few years ago against Australia on a flat pitch, that when the ball starts reversing, you can take wickets here. It is going to be tough work for the bowlers,” he said.
Bangladesh in the batting department will have Tamim Iqbal join the XI, in place of Shadman Islam, after missing the previous game due to severe stomach ache.
Tamim, if not ruled out from this game too, will make a comeback to the format after almost 10 months.
Bangladesh ODI captain Tamim played his last Test in May 2021 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele.
Since then, Bangladesh played five Tests – against Zimbabwe, Pakistan and New Zealand – but Tamim missed out due to various injuries.
Eyes will be on captain Mominul Haque and veteran batter Mushfiqur Rahim as they bid to step up to the tourists’ cause.
The duo have been below par in the series so far with Mominul scoring nought and two in the first match while Mushfiq could put only a seven and a duck.
If Bangladesh can repeat their fast-bowling performance shown in the first Test, the inexperienced team Proteas will be in for another stern examination.
The hosts after losing the ODI series to Bangladesh, bounced back strongly in the first Test with the commanding victory.
The batters did their jobs, posting solid totals in both innings, but it was the spinners that turned the game in their favor in both innings.