South Africa complete hard-fought win
Tuesday, 26 February 2008

South Africa complete hard-fought winBangladesh v South Africa, 1st Test, Mirpur, 4th day

Cricinfo.com

More than seven years after they were granted Test status, and in their 44th match against non-Zimbabwean opposition, Bangladesh slipped up yet again, squandering the advantages gained on the second day to subside to a five-wicket defeat on the fourth morning.

It took South Africa 10.5 overs to knock off the 27 needed, but the result was never in doubt after Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Ashwell Prince had built on a superb spell from Jacques Kallis.

Prince, who played a couple of pleasing drives off Shahadat Hossain, was unlucky not to be there at the end, given out leg before though the delivery from Shahadat pitched outside the line of leg stump. Aleem Dar gave it, but there was to be no final twist in this tale.

AB de Villiers, who endured several uncomfortable moments against the left-arm spin of Mohammad Rafique, clipped two fours of Shahadat to bring the scores level, and Mark Boucher then cut one past point to start the celebrations in the South African camp.

Prohibitive favourites before the series started, they had been made to work exceptionally hard by a Bangladeshi team inspired by Shahadat's nine wickets.

Bangladesh will look back ruefully at their inability to post 200 in either innings. The opening day offered plenty of insight into their batting woes, with six batsmen spending reasonable time in the middle before throwing it away.

The main culprit was Mohammad Ashraful, the captain, who sauntered to 34 from 26 balls before an over-exuberant charge at Johan Botha changed the complexion of the match.

Jamie Siddons, the new coach, will take the positives from this match, especially the bowling of Shahadat and the restrained 74 from Junaid Siddique.

But he also needs to look at a relatively listless display from Mashrafe Mortaza, and cavalier strokes from too many of the batsmen. South Africa are unlikely to be as sloppy in the second Test.

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