Battered by South Africa’s fast bowlers in the first Test in Bloemfontein, Bangladesh are likely to face yet another pace barrage in the second and final Test starting at Centurion Park Wednesday.
After South Africa’s win by an innings and 129 runs in Bloemfontein, coach Mickey Arthur hinted strongly that his team might opt for an all-pace attack in Centurion, where he has requested a pitch “with a little bit of pace and bounce.” Fast bowler Monde Zondeki is likely to replace injured left-arm spinner Paul Harris, despite the addition to the squad of another slow left-armer in Robin Peterson, with the South Africans treating the matches against Bangladesh as preparation for their tour of Australia next month.
“I’m very keen to see Monde in action,” said Arthur. “If we go with an all-pace attack it will give us that opportunity. It’s quite necessary that he gets a Test under the belt in case something happens in Australia.” Bangladesh failed to cope with the pace of Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Morne Morkel and Jacques Kallis in Bloemfontein so they are unlikely to relish the prospect of having to face yet another fast bowler.
The tourists were bowled out for 153 and 159 in the first Test but in both innings they needed useful ninth wicket partnerships to give their efforts some respectability. In the first innings they slumped to 88 for eight and in the second the eighth wicket fell at 108.
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful admitted his team had failed to deal effectively with the South African fast bowlers but said he was encouraged by the form of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who made 48 in the first innings, and Mehrab Hossain, who made 43 not out in the second.
“We are not used to batting on bouncy wickets but we will try to do better in the next Test,” said Ashraful, who was also heartened by the way his bowlers fought back on the second day of the match after conceding 299 runs and only taking one wicket on day one.
They reduced South Africa to 441 for nine declared, with left-arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan taking five for 130.
Leading spinner Abdur Razzak is likely to return to the Bangladesh line-up after missing the first Test because he had to travel to Australia to undergo analysis of his bowling action after he was reported by the umpires and match referee during Bangladesh’s home series against New Zealand last month.
South Africa will want to build on their success in Bloemfontein and will be hoping for long innings from Jacques Kallis, AB de Villiers and Mark Boucher, the only batsmen in the top seven who did not hit form in the first Test.
South Africa will move back to number two in the International Cricket Council’s Test rankings if they complete a 2-0 series win.
They are currently third behind Australia and India. On the evidence of their dominance in the first Test as well as a three-match one-day series it should be a formality unless bad weather intervenes.
Teams: South Africa (from): Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini, Monde Zondeki, JP Duminy, Robin Peterson.
Bangladesh (from): Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Mehrab Hossain, Shakib Al Hasan, Naeem Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Mahbubul Alam, Raqibul Hasan, Sajedul Islam, Nazmul Hossain.
Umpires: Steve Davis (AUS), Ian Gould (ENG). TV umpire: Brian Jerling (RSA). Match referee: Alan Hurst (AUS)