South Africa 233 for 4 (Elgar 67, Bavuma 53*) vs Bangladesh
Durban: South Africa made a strong start to the first Test against Bangladesh in Durban.
Half-centuries from skipper Dean Elgar (67) and Temba Bavuma (53*) helped the home side to 233/4 on a curtailed day at Kingsmead.
The tourists, who are looking to add to their white-ball series win in South Africa, struggled for incisiveness with the ball, with Mehidy Hasan Miraz the pick of the bowlers with 1/57 off 26 overs.
After winning the toss, Bangladesh chose to bowl first on an unusual brown-green Kingsmead pitch. With their key pacer Shoriful Islam out due to a niggle, Bangladesh went with three seam options and included Mehidy in the eleven as their only spin-bowling option. Due to a stomach ache, opener Tamim Iqbal was also missing from the starting eleven.
Meanwhile, the hosts opted for with two frontline spinners in their squad as they included Simon Harmer to partner Keshav Maharaj, anticipating the pitch to be slower than usual. Also, in the absence of some key players, South Africa handed Test debuts to Lizaad Williams and Ryan Rickelton.
The opening session was delayed owing to a sight-screen malfunction. However, after a 35-minute wait, the session began, and Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee made sure they got off to a strong start in the first Test of the two-match series. The two batters took advantage of the conditions and scored swiftly, leaving Bangladesh to second-guess their decision to bowl first.
Despite having three seam bowling options, Bangladesh struggled to find wickets in the opening session, as the South African openers sailed through the opening stint without any trouble. Dean Elgar from the start of his innings looked to be set, as he only dealt in boundaries against the seamers, particularly Ebadot Hossain, who smashed three fours in the 12th over to bring up South Africa’s team fifty.
Nothing appeared to work for Bangladesh as Elgar remained untroubled, timing both full-length and short deliveries to perfection, and he soon brought up his half-century from 60 balls.
Meanwhile, Erwee on the other end took his time to settle in and kept rotating the strike, allowing Elgar to anchor the innings. However when Taskin Ahmed came up for his second spell, Bangladesh were able to cause some trouble for the batters, but it was not enough to get the much-needed breakthrough. The introduction of spin against the two left-handers halted the flow of runs and quietened things a bit, as Mehidy Hasan bowled an accurate length to keep the batters in check.
Bangladesh could have gotten some relief had Liton Das grabbed the opportunity just before lunch. In the last over before lunch, Erwee edged one to the wicket-keeper while trying to slash a just short delivery from Mehidy, but Das dropped down an easy catch and South Africa went for lunch on 95/0, with Elgar (60*) and Erwee (32*) inching closer to their century opening partnership.