Bangladesh punished after Rahim makes the wrong call
green. “Nine times out of 10 you will bat first,” said Du Plessis after his side had been put in. “It is a very normal cricket wicket.”
It meant his young attack, led by 22- year- old Kagiso Rabada, could put their feet up for the day. It meant his young opening batsman, playing just his second Test, had an opportunity to make up for missing out on a first Test century on his debut. It meant a lot of pain for Mushfiqur and his bowlers.
And while Mushfiqur deserves admonishment for erring again at the toss, his bowlers certainly didn’t help their captain try and atone for that error. With the exception of Mustafizur Rahman and later Rubel Hossain, Bangladesh’s bowling was awful. Taijul Islam, the left- arm spinner, offered no control, in contrast he offered lots of boundary balls – 14 came off his bowling. Shubhashis Roy’s first over was a maiden, his second went for 15 and he was out of the attack. By the time stumps were drawn Mushfiqur had used eight bowlers – and they had conceded 58 boundaries.
The only pressure for Elgar and Markram was to avoid getting out. Elgar, in top form and confident feasted, scoring the fastest half-century of his career and turning it into the fastest hundred as well.
Markram was more circumspect. Perhaps he was surprised at how poorly Bangladesh bowled – ‘Test cricket was supposed to hard’ every expert would have told him. And to be fair it will be hard, but when it’s as easy as it was, it’s best you cash in.
And Markram did just that registering that maiden Test century, raising both arms, soaking up the applause from his teammates.
The opening pair have produced back- to- back century stands, a confidence booster the team so desperately needed after a difficult 2017 in that department.
Bangladesh briefly pulled themselves together before tea when Mushfiqur called on his quicks to utilise the bouncer. Elgar should have been caught by the wicketkeeper on 110, he was caught at deep fine leg after making 113 – a more fluent innings than what he’s accustomed to playing.
Markram fell to the ball of the day from Robel for 143 and when Temba Bavuma gifted his wicket to Subhashis for seven, South Africa had lost 45/3 in eight overs.
Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis snuffed out Bangla- desh’s fightback with a 140run stand.
It was the second highest number of runs scored on the first day of a Test by South Africa bettered only by the 445 scored in the 2003 New Year’s Test against Pakistan at Newlands.
BIG HITTER IN BLOEM: Aiden Markram of South Africa scored his maiden Test century, against Bangladesh yesterday.