Bangladesh were nicely poised in the first Test against South Africa at 179-4 before rain brought a premature end to the second day’s play in Chittagong on Wednesday.
The visitors threw everything at the hosts after Bangladesh bowled them out cheaply for 248 runs, but the batsmen successfully negotiated their bowlers to retain the advantage.
Tamim Iqbal provided the necessary resistance to score his first fifty against South Africa and Mahmudullah built on the start to score 67, taking Bangladesh to a comfortable position before rain intervened.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim, 16 not out, will resume the innings with Sakib al Hasan today, the third day of the match, hoping to take the Tigers close to 400 runs in order to give them a chance to put South Africa under pressure.
Things could have been much better for Bangladesh had Mahmudullah not been dismissed just before rain halted play as Vernon Philander trapped him leg-before.
Philander’s wicket was the only success for South Africa’s much-talked-about pace trio, who struggled to make an impact on the slow
wicket at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
Dale Steyn swung the ball both ways and looked to have produced some reverse swing at times while Morne Morkel took some extra bounce from a hard pitch, without any reward.
Bangladesh played them cautiously but did not give them any undue respect, which helped them keep the scoreboard ticking amid relentless pressure from the pace trio.
Their part-timers, meanwhile, found the opportunity to take some wickets, giving the side regular breakthroughs and not allowing Bangladesh to put any big partnership.
For Bangladesh it was important to negotiate the new-ball threat and Tamim and Imrul Kayes did the job successfully, putting on 41 runs in their opening stand.
Imrul lost his concentration once South Africa introduced part-time medium pacer Stiaan van Zyl, who dragged the opener out of his crease for a stumping, which end his watchful innings at 26.
The most awkward part of Bangladesh’s innings came moments later when one-down Mominul Haque attempted to cut a delivery of off-spinner Simon Harper that was too close to his body.
The ball, which was also a quicker, beat Mominul and crashed onto his stumps, leaving him out for six, and putting Bangladesh in some trouble at 2-55.
Tamim and Mahmudullah helped the Tigers recover with an 89-run second wicket stand denying South Africa any chance of making an inroad.
Tamim was uncharacteristically watchful during his innings, hitting just two boundaries, before he completed his fifty off 119 balls. He fell to Dean Elgar, another part-timer, who bowled the left-hander with a full toss just when he was looking set for a big innings.
Tamim took overall 129 balls for his inning and hit just three fours. His innings was also a statement of sorts from Bangladesh, suggesting they were not willing to give up anything without a try, at the least.
They can make the third day a very long one for South Africa should they stick to the same strategy.
-With New Age input