Bangladesh pun­ished af­ter Rahim makes the wrong call

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART HESS

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.

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