Given how Bangladesh were terrorised by the short ball in this Test, it was entirely appropriate that South Africa wrapped up the match and series with one. And unlike the five-wicket defeat in Mirpur, there was nothing remotely heroic about the innings-and-205-run capitulation in Chittagong, with a world record partnership between Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie illustrating the huge chasm that still separates Bangladesh from the best practitioners of cricket’s most demanding form.
When Mashrafe Mortaza couldn’t avoid fending one to the left of McKenzie at gully, it was the final act of a match that once again didn’t go into the fourth afternoon. With Aftab Ahmed unable to bat after a sickening injury on Sunday, South Africa needed only four more wickets to set the seal on a very satisfactory outing.
An eighth-wicket partnership of 56 between Abdur Razzak, who remained defiant on 33, and Shahadat Hossain briefly halted the victory charge, but with Robin Peterson scalping an unexpected five-for, the result was never in doubt. Bangladesh managed a few half-century partnerships during the course of the Test, but the fact remained that their tally over two innings didn’t even come close to matching Smith and McKenzie.
The batting frailty was all too evident at the start of the fourth day. Razzak’s periscope approach to batting resulted in a comical four over the wicketkeeper off Dale Steyn, and South Africa didn’t have very long to wait for the breakthrough. Peterson was aiming at the cracks from the outset, and Mushfiqur Rahim edged his first ball of the morning to Jacques Kallis at slip.
Enter Mohammad Rafique to tremendous applause in his final Test innings. Two balls later, exit Rafique - a biff back to the bowler that Peterson was never going to drop. Shahadat, with a few sorties down the ground, and Razzak with his patented carves over slips added runs in a hurry, but the South Africans were amused rather than annoyed, and when Shahadat holed out to long-off to give Peterson number five, the Last Post could begin.
South Africa now look to India, and a series that will really be a test of their mettle in subcontinent conditions. As for Bangladesh, they have three one-dayers to look forward to. The format suits their hit-and-miss batsmen, and they did hammer South Africa at the World Cup last year. Jamie Siddons just won’t be expecting any miracles in Tests, especially not with an FTP that barely gives them matches to iron out the many kinks that continue to bedevil their play at their highest level.
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Bangladesh, Graeme Smith, South Africa, South Africa in Bangladesh 2008
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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