Thursday, April 18, 2024

Positive Tigers reap rich rewards

Bangladesh came out of their defensive mindset in Test match cricket to reap rich rewards, bowling out South Africa cheaply for 248 in the first innings, to seize early momentum in the first of the two-match Test series, in Chittagong on Tuesday.
The Tigers, much criticised in recent matches for playing with eight batsmen, abandoned the idea this time and dropped an in-form Soumya Sarkar to accommodate an extra bowler.
It produced a result beyond imagination as all six bowlers they used made some valuable contribution to put them firmly in control at stumps on the first day.
Debutant Mustafizur Rahman led the way with 4-37 while leg-spinner Jubair Hossain justified his constant backing from coach Chandika Hathurusinghe to finish with 3-53.
Before Mustafiz and Jubair got into the act, the other bowlers did their part creating enormous pressure to which the South African team offered a meek surrender, despite a brisk start.
South African captain Hashim Amla did not think twice to bat first after he won the toss, and Stiaan van Zyl along with Dean Elgar put 58 runs for the opening stand to give them a good foundation.
Mahmudullah removed van Zyl for 34 runs to bring the Tigers their first breakthrough but South Africa were still on top scoring 104 runs in the opening session.
The momentum swung Bangladesh’s way once Mohammad Shahid bowled five maiden overs in a row to pile the pressure on the batsmen, who finally fell to left-arm spinners Sakib al Hasan and Taijul Islam.
Taijul ended Elgar’s vigil at 47 and Sakib delivered
in the next over trapping Faf du Plessis in front for 48, to leave Amla and the lower-middle order to rebuild the innings.
South Africa then had a ‘what-just-happened’ moment when Mustafiz ripped through their batting line-up in one magical over, which could have brought him a wicket for each of his six deliveries.
He made Amla his first Test victim in the first ball of his 14th over after the South African captain made just 13 and then hit JP Duminy on his front foot, crying out loud for a leg before, in the next ball.
Joel Wilson, himself a debutant Test umpire, turned down the appeal, prompting Bangladesh to go for a review to get the decision reversed.
Quinton de Kock somehow parried the hat-trick ball but was late on a defensive push in the next delivery to see his off-stump cart-wheeling and completing Bangladesh’s turn around.
Jubair took care of the tail-enders after the Mustafiz burst, first making happy-going Vernon Philander provide a catch to Sakib at slip for 24, before dismissing Simon Harmer and Dale Steyn.
Temba Bavuma was still at the crease to keep South Africa floating, but Mustafiz returned in his next spell to have him caught by Tamim Iqbal at deep midwicket.
Imrul Kayes dropped at least two catches at slip, including one by Bavuma, a specialist batsman, who could have taken South Africa toward a respectable total.
Thanks to Mustafiz he had to stop at 54, his maiden Test fifty, which became South Africa’s highest innings eventually.
Imrul’s slippery hands denied Shahid a wicket, something which could have been a fitting reward for his extremely tight bowling, but on a day when every other thing went to Tigers’ favour, he had to console himself with the team’s success.
Opener Tamim Iqbal (one not out) and Imrul (five not out) remained unscathed to take Bangladesh to 7-0 as the Tigers kept their advantage intact before bad light ended the day’s play two overs earlier than the stipulated 90 overs.

-With New Age input

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