Bangladesh reminded South Africa of the grind that goes into Test cricket after the visitors ended a six-month break from the format on the ropes. The No.1 ranked side were pulled back from a promising start, as Bangladesh enforced a second-session squeeze which became a post-tea rout, and the visitors found themselves bowling by the end of a day in which they chose to bat first.
South Africa slid dramatically from 136 for 1 to 248 all out as Mustafizur Rahman, making his Test debut, mowed through their middle-order, which was without AB de Villiers for the first time in more than a decade. His replacement, Temba Bavuma, was South Africa’s only half-centurion on a scorecard which had only two partnerships in excess of fifty runs and in which the last nine wickets fell for 112 runs.
Mustafizur impressed as much on Test debut as he has done in his limited-overs career with a clever mix of cutters but it’s his 14th over that will steal the headlines. A trio of full and tempting deliveries earned him the wickets of Hashim Amla, JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock to dismantle South Africa. Even as Bangladesh’s spinners struck either side of that over, the unsung hero of the day was Mohammad Shahid, who sent down nine maiden overs – six of them in a single spell – but went unrewarded. Both Vernon Philander and Bavuma were dropped off his bowling by Imrul Kayes at slip.
By the time Bavuma was put down, he had already reached his first Test half-century in his third game. Faf du Plessis and Dean Elgar came close to the milestone, with 48 and 47 respectively, but both were bogged down in the middle session as Bangladesh put the brakes on a sprightly start.
Elgar had been part of the opening stand, with a new partner Stiaan van Zyl, who was the more aggressive of the two. Van Zyl, a regular No.3 who is being trialed at the top, timed the ball well and took on both seam and spin but was snaffled down the leg side when he fed a Mahmudullah delivery to wicketkeeper Liton Das.
That was the only success Bangladesh enjoyed in the morning session as du Plessis joined Elgar in planting roots. Runs still came, with Elgar watchful and du Plessis fleet-footed against spin but Bangladesh had a plan to stop them.
Their strangle began after the lunch break when Shahid applied himself meticulously to targeting the area outside off. He kept his length slightly short and proved impossible to get away, literally. At the other end, Jubair Hossain tested Elgar and du Plessis with the legbreak and the googly, and Elgar was soon both entangled and frustrated.
The first 18 overs after lunch had yielded only 28 runs and Elgar wanted a few more. After three-and-a-half hours, he tried to find the gap through point but edged behind and Liton, despite a juggle, held on.
Immediately after Bangladesh broke through, Mushfiqur Rahim brought Shakib back and it paid off. The first delivery of his second spell was an arm ball which trapped du Plessis in front to give Bangladesh a glimpse into the middle-order. Knowing there was inexperience there, Mushfiqur attacked with close catchers to keep the pressure on Bavuma but he rode it confidently.
Bavuma used his wrists well and showed his captain, Amla, he was ready to do his bit for the recovery. Then, he had to do it without any of the recognised batsman. Amla pushed away from his body at a Mustafizur delivery to give the 19-year-old his first Test wicket, then JP Duminy was hit in front of middle and given out lbw on review. Two balls later Quinton de Kock’s lack of form continued when he was bowled by a full ball that kept low and beat his defences.
South Africa had slumped to 173 for 6 and Bavuma was left with the tail. Vernon Philander and Simon Harmer both hung around while Bavuma built the total. Philander was dropped on 18 and dismissed seven deliveries later, while Harmer was caught at short-leg off Jubair after he smacked a half-tracker into Mominul Haque’s stomach, where he caught it. Bangladesh took the second new ball, and Mustafizur used it to claim a fourth wicket – Bavuma – ending a dominant day for his team, ESPNCricinfo reports.