A comprehensive all-round rout of Bangladesh in the third and final one-dayer in Mirpur not only sealed a 3-0 series win for South Africa but also propelled them to the top of the ICC one-day rankings, displacing Australia. South Africa were handed the victory on a platter after another tepid batting display by Bangladesh, who folded up for a paltry 143. Bangladesh’s trio of left-arm spinners made the South African batsmen work hard for the runs, but yet again, they just didn’t have the cushion of runs to work with.
Against the backdrop of the uncertainty surrounding Andre Nel’s international future, the short one-day international series between hosts Bangladesh and South Africa comes to a conclusion in Mirpur. South Africa have already clinched the series, and much of the focus rests on whether they can complete the sweep that will take them past as Australia as the best ODI side in the world.
South Africa came one step closer to usurping Australia as the No. 1 one-day side in the world with a comfortable seven-wicket victory in Mirpur. Andre Nel scythed through Bangladesh’s top order after they chose to bat and though the tourists suffered a wobble of their own, AB de Villiers and JP Duminy sealed the series with a battling 119-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Bar a record fifth-wicket stand of 119 between Shakib Al Hasan and Raqibul Hasan, which proved the bulk of a poor 173 in 48.2 overs, there was little the hosts could take out of their 13th defeat on the trot.
Bangladesh will once again employ three spinners as they head to Mirpur for the second ODI against South Africa. Conditions in Mirpur, the venue for both the second and third ODIs, are expected to be similar to those of the first match in Chittagong, which South Africa won comfortably by nine wickets.
For the hosts, Mashrafe Mortaza makes a return to the playing XI and will spearhead the attack in place of Shahadat Hossain. Mortaza, the vice-captain, was overlooked for the first ODI, in which Bangladesh opted for three left-arm spinners in Abdur Razzak, Shakib Al Hasan, and Mosharraf Hossain.
Mohammad Ashraful has defended his decision to drop fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza from the side for the first ODI against South Africa and said Bangladesh had planned to go with three spinners.
“Mashrafe did not fit into our plans,” Ashraful said. “He was not chosen to have balance in the team. We needed three spinners. [Syed] Rasel has been very economical these days and Shahadat [Hossain] was in good form. We just could not accommodate him [Mortaza].
Mortaza has had little success in Bangladesh’s recent series, picking up only one wicket in three ODIs in New Zealand last December and taking none against South Africa in the two Tests that just concluded.
Subcontinental conditions and the presence of three left-arm spinners did nothing to scare off the South Africans as their openers, Graeme Smith and Herschelle Gibbs, added a century opening stand to help them go 1-0 up in the three-match series with a comprehensive nine-wicket win in Chittagong. Smith led the way emphatically, sealing the victory – with more than 13 overs to spare – and his seventh ODI hundred with the last scoring stroke of the match.
Bangladesh will rely on their young spin attack to topple South Africa in the three-match one-day series starting here on Sunday (today), according to captain Mohammad Ashraful.
The hosts have included three spinners in their 14-man squad, expecting a new wicket at the Chittagong Divisional stadium to offer turn to the tweakers.
Spin has been the traditional strength of teams in the subcontinent and Bangladesh is no exception. Recently retired left-arm spinner Mohammad Rafique finished his career with the most wickets for Bangladesh in Tests and one-day matches.
South Africa will look to their fringe players to deliver the goods against an unpredictable Bangladesh in the One-day International series beginning here on Sunday (tomorrow).
The South Africans have rested key players Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Makhaya Ntini for the three one-dayers while including untried batsman Hamish Amla and spinner Paul Harris in the squad.
With the series also being the first for the Proteas since charismatic all-rounder Shaun Pollock quit international cricket last month, a lot of players are suddenly finding themselves under the spotlight.
After notching up 5,000 Test runs here barely a week ago, South African captain Graeme Smith is now eyeing the same mark in One-day Internationals.
Bangladesh has been a happy hunting ground for Smith, who made his debut as Test captain in this port city four years ago.He was involved in a world record opening stand of 415 with Neil McKenzie in the second Test against Bangladesh, erasing the previous 52-year-old mark of 413 between India’s Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad.
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.