Bangladesh strike, but SA lead stretches past 200

Sports Desk Published: 3 April 2022, 05:00 PM | Updated: 3 April 2022, 07:58 PM
Bangladesh strike, but SA lead stretches past 200

Bangladesh took 3 for 10 and gave away only 52 runs in 28 overs in the afternoon session to cause a scare in South Africa's middle order, but the hosts extended their lead to over 200 in fairly clear conditions in Durban. Despite Saturday night's 50mm of rain, play started on time and should continue for all 98 overs on the fourth day, with South Africa playing both the clock and Bangladesh to force a result.

The target is already approaching what Bangladesh's batting coach Jamie Siddons deemed too many (he said on the third evening that anything above 250 would be tricky) but is still short of what South Africa would consider safe. With four sessions remaining in the Test and no rain forecast after 9am tomorrow, there's sufficient time for both sides to push for a result, but the longer South Africa bat, the more Bangladesh may eye a share of the spoils.

Bangladesh were able to put the brakes on South Africa after Dean Elgar scored his second half-century of the match despite limited services from their frontline seamer Taskin Ahmed. He is nursing a shoulder injury but spent intermittent periods of time on the field and bowled just two spells. However, he removed Elgar in his first, on review. Elgar was struck low on the front pad by a delivery that nipped back into him but Marais Erasmus was unmoved. Bangladesh reviewed and ball-tracking showed it was hitting the top of middle stump. That was the seventh decision overturned in the game and the fifth off Erasmus. That count has since increased to eight.

Elgar's dismissal ended a 68-run second wicket-stand with Keegan Petersen and sparked a mini-collapse. Five overs later, Petersen was on the back foot, trying to clip Mehidy behind square but nudged the ball to short leg where Mahmudul Hasan Joy took a good catch low down. In the next over, Hossain struck again when he made Temba Bavuma play at a good-length delivery and found the edge. Yasir Ali went one-handed to his left and took a fantastic low catch.

South Africa were 126 for 4, 195 ahead and with two new batters at the crease, Bangladesh could stall them. They conceded 15 runs in the next six overs before Kyle Verreynne was given out lbw after missing a slog-sweep off Mehidy. Verreynne reviewed and the decision was overturned, with ball-tracking showing it was missing legstump. Two overs later, Verreynne reverse-swept Mehidy and under-edged a catch to Shadman Islam at silly point, who claimed another catch just off the ground.

Mehidy could have had Wiaan Mulder with this next ball after the allrounder edged to slip, but the chance fell short. Mulder also offered Khaled Ahmed a return catch but he could not hold on his follow-through.

Earlier, just one wicket fell in the morning session despite Bangladesh creating several chances including two opportunities to get rid of Elgar. They thought they had him in the second over of the day, for 7, when Elgar's defence was beaten by a Mehidy delivery that drifted in and hit on the back pad, but Elgar was given not out on field. Bangladesh's review was unsuccessful on umpire's call.

Ebadot appeared the most affected by the miss. He ramped up the aggression and brought some fire to Bangladesh's effort when Elgar drove a ball back to him, and Ebadot threw the ball back at the South African captain in frustration, followed by some words. Umpire Adrian Holdstock had to ask the pair to calm down.

Ebadot's intensity was rewarded with the wicket of the other opener. Sarel Erwee, who patiently worked his way to eight off 50 balls, was beaten by a delivery that angled in but was given not out and indicated he had edged the ball. Bangladesh reviewed, and Ultra Edge revealed no contact while ball-tracking confirmed it was going on to hit the middle and leg stump. South Africa's opening stand was broken on 48.

In the next over, Elgar, on 34, got a thick edge off Mehidy, but Nazimul Hossain Shanto, at first slip, attempted to take the catch reverse-cupped and it bobbled out. Three overs after that, Elgar, on 43, tried to steer an Ebadot delivery to third man but got an edge again, and the ball burst out of second slip's hands. Elgar went on to score fifty off 73 balls when he punched a Khaled short ball wide of gully.

Just when Bangladesh may have thought things couldn't get worse, they did. Two overs after Elgar reached fifty, Petersen was struck on the back pad by Khaled and Bangladesh appealed. Marais Erasmus gave it not out, Khaled wanted a review but Mominul Haque did not even consider it and replays showed the ball would have gone on to his stumps. Petersen was on 13 at the time.

Source: ESPNcricinfo