Tigers in disarray as rain causes early close

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A defeat sooner rather than later seemed to be looming for Bangladesh after Morne Morkel dispatched opener Tamim Iqbal and number three Mominul Haque in the first over of the innings without a run being scored. The situation worsened at the stroke of tea when Imrul Kayes was third to fall for 32 with the score on 49 when he nicked left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps. Continuous rain barred any further play, so Bangladesh will have to negotiate 98 more overs on the fifth day or score 375 more runs if they are to reverse the one-way traffic of this Test so far.

After a 50-minute rain delay in the afternoon session of the fourth day of the first Test, South Africa extended their lunchtime lead of 379 before declaring their second innings and setting Bangladesh a target of 424 to win, or 141overs to bat out for a draw. The rain delays on the fourth afternoon and the third evening caused the afternoon session to be extended by an hour and five minutes and Imrul Kayes’s dismissal brought an end to the session with Bangladesh on 49 for three and skipper Mushfiqur Rahim batting on 16 at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.

Tamim did not shoulder arms to the fourth ball he faced, but the effect was the same as he tucked his bat behind his pad to a fast Morkel delivery that just homed in on off stump and found its mark from around the stumps. Tamim’s was an error in judgement as he did not seem to know where his off stump was, Mominul’s was error was different only in that he did not where his leg stump was. His second ball, the sixth of the innings, thudded into his pads from around the wicket and the umpire upheld Morkel’s appeal. But even in real time it seemed that the ball would have slid down leg, and the replays showed it to be missing leg stump comfortably. However, after discussing with Imrul Kayes — not the best judge as he reviewed a gloved caught behind in New Zealand – Mominul walked off without reviewing.

It could have been a little worse for Bangladesh as skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was comprehensively bowled by a Morkel thunderbolt in the third over, but this time the umpires decided to go upstairs and Mushfiqur was called back to face the music again as the replays showed that Morkel had overstepped.

There were slightly happier times earlier in the second session as part-time left-arm spinner Mominul took three wickets, by far his best return in first-class cricket and was assisted by two sublime pieces of keeping by Liton Das. Mominul did not need Liton for the first of the three, as he had Faf du Plessis leg-before for 81 in the 49th over when the home skipper stretched forward and across to sweep but missed. Du Plessis reviewed the out decision but the point of impact returned umpire’s call and so the decision was upheld.

The rain interruption followed soon afterwards, and shortly after play resumed Mominul and Liton combined to dispatch Temba Bavuma for 71 in the 56th over. Bavuma reached across to paddle-sweep the delivery and Liton, seeing the movement, skipped across to the leg side and with razor sharp reflexes stuck his left hand out to pluck the ball almost off the face of the bat.

There was one more moment of inspiration when, at 222 for five in the 53rd over, Mominul saw Quinton de Kock skipping down the track and fired it down the leg side. De Kock missed, Liton was across in a flash to collect the ball and, with his momentum still taking him away from the stumps Liton threw himself at the stumps to complete his first stumping in his Test career.

Andile Phehlukwayo and Keshav Maharaj then hit some lusty blows, and a six from the latter off Mehedi Hasan Miraz brought the signal from Du Plessis to declare the innings closed on 247 for six.

Earlier, South Africa continued their march towards piled up a lead of 379 as they reached 203 for three at lunch on the fourth day.

Runs were the order of the day as the hosts scored 149 runs for the loss of Hashim Amla in 28.1 overs of the morning session after Day Three was cut short by bad light with the Proteas on 54 for two. Success for the Tigers came pretty early in the day, with a Mustafizur Rahman cutter drawing a lazy drive from Amla in the 21st over, the fifth of the day, for wicketkeeper Liton Das to take his second catch of the innings. Amla was out for 28, to go with his 137 in the first innings. It was also Mustafizur’s second wicke and his third of the match.

That auspicious start, however, paved the way for South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis to come in and set about scoring quick runs to advance his team’s way to a season-opening win.

Amla’s departure brought the score to 70 for three, and from there Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur could have tried to apply more pressure as the batsmen were looking for runs. But there was no such plan of action. After Temba Bavuma, on eight in the 22nd over, was dropped at point off a hard-hit cut off Shafiul Islam that bruised Imrul Kayes’s fielder, the going was smooth for Du Plessis and Bavuma.

Two Du Plessis boundaries in the 26th over off Shafiul signalled the start of the run fest. Bavuma, who was batting quietly for the first 40 minutes of the day, then got another slice of luck when he edged off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz in the 27th over, but there was no slip in position and the ball went for four. Bavuma swept for four in the same over to add insult to Mehedi’s injury.

After the drinks break, the field was spread out and the duo kept picking singles and boundaries at will. Du Plessis brought up a 55-ball 50 in the 35th over and soon there were part-timers from both ends as Sabbir Rahman and Mahmudullah Riyad served up non-threatening fare for the batsmen to knock for singles towards the four and at times five men positioned on the boundary.

The century partnership was brought up in the 40th over, taking just 18.1 overs. Soon Bavuma brought up his 50 off his 75 th ball with a four off Sabbir in the 41st over as South Africa were given some batting practice.

Source ||The Daily Star||

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