The dismal show on the final day of the first Test at Durban by the Bangladesh batters cancelled out the fightback of the previous four days where the batters and bowlers of the visitors showed the heart and temperament to challenge the hosts – but in one session of a nightmare, everything was washed down the drain in the twinkle of an eye.
🚨 RESULT | #PROTEAS WIN BY 2️⃣ 2️⃣ 0️⃣ RUNS
— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) April 4, 2022
On Day 1, After a 35-minute delay to sort out malfunctioning sightscreens, Elgar got South Africa off the blocks quickly and breached the boundary nine times in the first 12 overs as he took advantage of anything overpitched or wide.
He brought up his fifty off 60 balls but not before Bangladesh had shown their first signs of bite. Taskin Ahmed beat Erwee, who spent most of the morning leaving well, twice and Mehidy Hasan could have dismissed him on the stroke of lunch when Erwee tried to slash him through the off side, top-edged, and was dropped by Litton Das.
South Africa went to the break on 95 without loss and Bangladesh with many questions but they surged back in the first hour of the afternoon session and took 3 for 33 thanks to a more disciplined approach. As Bangladesh adjusted to tighter lines, Elgar could add only seven to his score off 24 balls in the second session before he got a good ball from Khaled Ahmed, who found extra bounce. Elgar was late in trying to pull out of the shot and the ball took the edge to end the opening stand on 113. Five balls later, Erwee tried to cut Mehidy and under-edged onto his stumps.
With two new batters at the crease, Bangladesh would have been looking to squeeze South Africa but Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma were picture-perfect at first. Bavuma clipped Mehidy Hasan through midwicket for his first boundary and Petersen pulled Khaled in front of midwicket. With two compact techniques and quick runners at the crease, South Africa would have banked on their third-wicket stand to produce big runs, and Petersen was fortunate Bangladesh didn’t review a chance for caught-behind when he was on 18 and Taskin Ahmed lured him into the drive. But he was then unfortunate to be run-out when Bavuma called for a run after dabbing the ball to point, where Mehidy dived, picked up and threw with one stump to aim at and Petersen was found out of his ground.
A stunning performance from South Africa's spin twins to skittle Bangladesh for 53 and win the Test.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) April 4, 2022
Debutant Ryan Rickelton scored his first runs in Test cricket off a reverse-sweep and showed aggressive intent after tea. He sent a wide Ebadot Hossain delivery through cover, then tried again but got an outside edge that sped through the third man, and eventually fell on his sword when he tried to pull Ebadot in front of the square but top-edged to mid-on.
On Day 2, Simon Harmer marked his return to Test cricket by taking the first four Bangladesh wickets on the second afternoon in Durban. The offspinner, who took 491 wickets between this Test and his last in 2015, pegged away at the visitors.
Bad light during the afternoon meant that South Africa used their fast bowlers Duanne Olivier and Lizaad Williams for just nine overs. Harmer and Maharaj wheeled away for 20 overs and 19 overs respectively.
Harmer first removed Shadman Islam for 9 before tea and then bowled Najmul Hossain Shanto for 38 with a delivery that turned and hit the top of off stump. Arguably, it was Harmer’s best ball on the day – a lovely offbreak that turned past the outside edge and ended a 55-run partnership for the second wicket.
— Faisal Caesar (@faisalyorker1) April 4, 2022
In Harmer’s next over, Mominul fell, to Keegan Petersen’s brilliant catch at silly point, for a duck. To compound Bangladesh’s troubles, Harmer also removed Mushfiqur Rahim in the 46th over of the innings, Kyle Verreynne taking a good catch down the leg side.
Harmer had earlier played a crucial role in South Africa putting together a competitive total. He added 34 for the ninth wicket with Williams and then 35 for the last wicket with Olivier to frustrate Bangladesh. He stepped up when South Africa needed a contribution from the lower order.
The contest was perhaps even when Khaled Ahmed removed Verreynne and Wiaan Mulder off consecutive balls in the morning session. After Verreynne was trapped lbw, Mulder edged Khaled’s next ball to gully where Mahmudul Hasan Joy took the first of his two sharp catches at gully. In the morning session, South Africa lost 4 for 53, but they bounced back strongly later in the day.
Temba Bavuma and Maharaj added 53 runs for the seventh wicket before Mehidy Hasan Miraz got one to rip back into Bavuma. The South Africa captain top-scored with 93 off 190 balls. Next ball, Ebadot Hossain bowled Maharaj for 19.
A brilliant first hour on day two for Bangladesh 👏
— ICC (@ICC) April 1, 2022
Olivier and Harmer batted out 12 overs before Olivier played back to another big-turning offbreak from Mehidy and fell lbw. Khaled finished with 4 for 92 while Mehidy with 3 for 94. Taskin, who was the Player of the Series in the ODIs, went wicketless on Friday although he put in an excellent shift with the ball.
On Day 3, Mahmudul Hasan Joy became the first Bangladesh batter to score a Test hundred against South Africa, registering his maiden century in just his third Test, as the visitors extended their fight against a weakened home attack. Mahmudul had good support from the lower middle order and shared in a 33-run stand with Yasir Ali and a 51-run stand with Mehidy Hasan Miraz after putting on 82 for the fifth wicket with Litton Das, Bangladesh’s best partnership of the innings. He was eventually the last man out for 137, as Bangladesh limited South Africa’s first-innings lead to 69.
Bangladesh were bowled out inside the first hour of the evening session, leaving South Africa a potentially tricky period to bat out, but fading light and rain brought the day to a premature close just four overs into their second innings. Their openers survived it unscathed, even as Bangladesh burned a review when they felt Dean Elgar had edged an attempted drive off Najmul Hossain Shanto’s offspin. It turned out in the end that he had missed the ball but his bat had hit the ground.
On a pitch that remained good for batting, albeit slow, South Africa’s attack lacked bite in the absence of an out-and-out strike bowler. While Lizaad Williams bowled at a good pace – a shade under 140kph – Duanne Olivier remained innocuous, and Wiaan Mulder was not called on until the third session, after 107 overs of the Bangladesh innings. Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj did the bulk of the bowling and sent down 77 overs between them but Maharaj went wicketless and Harmer was unable to add to his four from the second day.
The sweat and pains worth it 💯 pic.twitter.com/gG4jCSzuko
— Mahmudul Hasan Joy (@Mahmudul_joy_71) April 2, 2022
Williams was the only bowler to enjoy success in the first two sessions of the day, removing nightwatchman Taskin Ahmed in the third over of the day and Litton two balls after lunch. Litton was well-set at the time, after surviving two chances in the morning session which could have seen him dismissed on 16 – when Williams found his outside edge, but Dean Elgar put down a regulation catch at first slip – or 29. He was given out caught behind off Harmer and reviewed immediately. Ultra Edge showed a flat line.
Despite those chances, Litton was attacking against the Olivier short ball and showed good intent against the spinners, who may have been guilty of trying too hard. Harmer, in search of a five-for on Test comeback, bowled quicker and fuller than he had on the second day and Maharaj was unlucky despite being economical.
Harmer was denied a second time when Mahmudul, on 64, was dropped at short leg by Sarel Erwee and a third when Litton appeared to inside-edge him to short-leg on the stroke of lunch and South Africa reviewed unsuccessfully. All told, they missed four opportunities in the morning session.
Their fielding was sharper as the day went on and did not let the easiest chance go begging when Yasir was late to respond to a call. Mahmudul was on 90 when he clipped Olivier through midwicket and ran one before rejecting a second run, but Yasir did not hear him in time. He ended up almost at the non-striker’s end when Ryan Rickleton’s throw reached Kyle Verreynne, who ran him out.
Mehidy partnered Mahmudul to his milestone, which came with a two off Maharaj, and celebrated with an air punch and a leap as the Bangladesh change room rose to their feet in celebration.
— Shakib Al Hasan (@Sah75official) April 3, 2022
Mulder was given the ball after tea and took less than three overs to make an impact. He had Mehidy caught at slip to leave Mahmudul with the tail. He changed gears almost immediately and after scoring 110 off 309 balls added his next 27 runs in 17 balls including a slog-sweep off Harmer which went for six and four boundaries off Mulder’s fourth over. Williams removed him when he backed away to cut and edged to Harmer at slip.
On Day 4, Despite heavy overnight rain – of 50mm, two-thirds of the April average – play started on time on the fourth morning and Dean Elgar set South Africa up with his second half-century of the match, but it was not without its chances. Bangladesh thought they had Elgar out on 7 in the second over of the morning when he was beaten by a Mehidy delivery that drifted in and hit the back pad, but the South Africa captain was given not out on the field, and Bangladesh’s review was unsuccessful on umpire’s call.
Elgar continued to taunt Bangladesh and had words with Ebadot, who brought some fire to Bangladesh’s effort when Elgar drove a ball back to him and Ebadot threw the ball back at the batter in frustration. Umpire Adrian Holdstock had to ask the pair to calm down. Ebadot’s reward came against the other opener, Sarel Erwee, who worked his way to 8 off 50 balls before Ebadot beat his inside edge with a full delivery that angled in. Though Erwee indicated he had hit the ball, Bangladesh reviewed and Ultra Edge revealed no contact while ball-tracking confirmed it was going on to hit the middle and leg. South Africa’s opening stand was broken on 43.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) April 4, 2022
That was the only wicket to fall in the morning session, despite Bangladesh creating several more chances. Elgar was dropped off Mehidy at first slip, on 34, and dropped again at second slip, on 43. He went on to reach his half-century off 73 balls when he punched a Khaled Ahmed short ball wide of gully.
Then Keegan Petersen was struck on the back pad by Khaled and Bangladesh appealed. Marais Erasmus gave it not out, Khaled wanted a review, but Mominul did not even consider it. But replays showed the ball would have gone on to hit the stumps. It proved to be a costly missed opportunity for Bangladesh as Petersen’s partnership with Elgar grew to 68.
Taskin eventually removed Elgar after the break, on review after Erasmus was unmoved when Elgar was struck low on the front pad. Ball-tracking showed it was hitting the top of the middle stump and Erasmus had to overturn. That was the eighth decision overturned in the game and the fifth off Erasmus.
Ebadot was furious with the umpire for giving it not out.
And….his anger is justified on the review!
— 🏏Flashscore Cricket Commentators (@FlashCric) April 3, 2022
Elgar’s dismissal sparked a mini-collapse. Five overs later, Petersen nudged Mehidy to short leg where Mahmudul took a good catch low down. In the next over, Ebadot made Temba Bavuma play at a good-length delivery, found the edge, and Yasir Ali went one-handed to his left at slip and took a fantastic low catch. With two new batters at the crease, Bangladesh applied the squeeze, conceded 15 runs in the next six overs, and Kyle Verreynne was given out lbw after missing a slog-sweep off Mehidy. Verreynne reviewed and the decision was overturned, but two overs later, he reverse-swept Mehidy and under-edged a catch to Shadman Islam at silly point, who claimed another sharp catch, just off the ground.
South Africa approached the post-tea session with a clear intent to attack. They scored 47 runs in 12.5 overs, but their plan worked in Bangladesh’s favour. Mehidy removed an edgy Wiaan Mulder, who was lured into the drive and edged to slip in the third over after tea. Taskin had Maharaj trapped lbw and then Bangladesh effected the twin run-outs of Harmer, who was found short of his ground after a direct hit from deep square-leg, and Lizaad Williams. Bangladesh would have been pleased with their work despite the magnitude of the target, before it came undone in six overs at the end of the day.
It was the first time that South Africa used spin to open the bowling in a home Test and they made incisions at both ends. Simon Harmer had Shadman Islam caught at slip off his second ball, while Keshav Maharaj bowled Mahmudul Hasan Joy and had Mominul Haque out lbw to pick two wickets in his first three overs.
Along the way, Maharaj entered the top ten among South Africa’s leading wicket-takers in Test cricket, and displaced Paul Adams to become their most prolific Test spinner since readmission.
On Day 5, Keshav Maharaj bowled South Africa to an emphatic win in 13 overs and 55 minutes on the fifth morning of the first Test, dismissing Bangladesh for the lowest total in an innings at Kingsmead. It was Maharaj’s eighth Test five-for and best figures at home, which helped South Africa win just their second of the last ten matches at the venue.
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) April 4, 2022
He was supported by offspinner Simon Harmer, who made his comeback to Test cricket, and finished the match with seven wickets. Between them, the spinners took 14 wickets – the second-most by South African spinners in a home Test and the most since readmission.
Bangladesh were dismissed for their second-lowest total in Tests and lowest against South Africa, an unfortunate end to a match where they remained competitive until the last half an hour on the fourth day. Set 274 to win, Bangladesh were 11 for 3 overnight and lost seven for 42 on the fifth morning. Only two of their batters got into double figures and four were dismissed without scoring.
Maharaj struck with his fifth delivery when he had Mushfiqur Rahim rapped on the pads with a delivery that drifted in and struck him fairly low. Mushfiqur was given out on-field but reviewed in optimism, and ball-tracking confirmed it was hitting the middle and leg stump. In his next over, Litton Das chipped him to mid-on and in the over after that, Maharaj delivered the best ball of his spell when he got the ball to drift in on the middle stump and spun away from Yasir Ali to take out his off stump and give Maharaj five wickets.
— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) April 4, 2022
At the other end, Harmer found Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s outside edge and Keegan Petersen accepted a simple catch before a slightly more complicated dismissal when he had Najmul Hossain Shanto, Bangladesh’s top-scorer in the innings, stumped. Shanto lunged forward and was beaten on the drive and could not drag his back foot over the line in time.
Maharaj thought he had a sixth when he beat Taskim Ahmed’s defence and South Africa reviewed but the ball had spun too much – not something Maharaj is known for – but he did not have to wait too long for more success. Three balls later, Khaled Ahmed top-edged a slog to mid-on. Lizaad Williams had to make some ground to take the catch but kept his eye on the ball and made no mistake. Maharaj finished the Test when he had Taskin caught at slip by Wiaan Mulder, five minutes before the first scheduled drinks break of the day.
From the president’s suite, Maharaj’s father Athmanand, applauded as his son kissed the turf, gestured a prayer to his late grandmother and led the South African team off the field, match-ball in hand. Maharaj’s seven wickets came in 60 balls, the second-fastest since 2002 after Stuart Broad’s against Australia in 2015. It was also the first time South Africa have bowled out an opposition using only two bowlers after neither of the seamers were called on in the second innings.
Note: Input from ESPNcricinfo