The second and final Test match for Bangladesh against host South Africa turned into a bitter reality check once again for the Tigers as they suffered a humiliating innings and 254-run defeat against the Proteas.
The Test series was expected to be tough for Bangladesh as South African surfaces are always considered a hunting ground for the Proteas bowlers against the Asian batsmen. Bangladesh lost their key batsman Tamim Iqbal at the top and crucial all-rounder Shakib al Hasan was also missing. So the situation got more tough for Bangladesh against South Africa.
But South African pace attack was also hampered as there were no Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander or Morne Morkel. The only threat was Kagiso Rabada, who is the highest wicket-taker in Tests this year. But it seems only Rabada was enough for Bangladesh to destroy their batting line up. And that’s very disappointing.
Test captain Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and elected to field first, perhaps this time his decision can be justified slightly as the pitch looked slightly greener than the first Test pitch at Senwes Park in Potchefstroom.
Bangladesh changed their bowling line up for the second Test at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein as three changes were made in order to reshape the bowling attack. Rubel Hossain, Subashish Roy and Taijul Islam came in place of Taskin Ahmed, Shafiul Islam and Mehedi Hasan Miraz.
But changes in the bowling line-up did not bring success for the Tigers as after electing to bowl first, the Tigers pacers were out of the track straightaway, bowling without consistent line and length. And the results were eminent. South Africa batsmen enjoyed themselves to another run-festival.
Dean Elgar, Aiden Markram, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis all scored centuries and really decimated the Bangladesh bowling, not giving any chances whatsoever. South Africa ended their first innings on 573 for the loss of four wickets declared.
So how bad and purposeless was the Bangladesh bowling attack? You have to listen to Proteas skipper Du Plessis to get an idea. Du Plessis said in the post-match press conference that Bangladesh bowlers bowled boundary balls in every over. And the Proteas batsmen took the chance easily. So boundary balls in every over in Test match cricket. What else do you need?
Now let’s come to the batting effort. It’s really frustrating to see how Bangladesh batsmen surrendered in both innings. On the same pitch, the Proteas batsmen made a run-fest, and just after they declared, when Bangladesh came out to bat, the pitch turned into a minefield.
South Africa declared after an hour of lunch on day two. And Bangladesh were soon dismissed before the close of play on day two. Yes, Bangladesh were all out within one and a half session, to be precise.
It seems Bangladesh will once again be bundled out for under-100, just like the last innings of the first Test. But thanks to Liton Kumar Das and Taijul for their 50-run seventh-wicket partnership, Bangladesh were saved from further humiliation. Eventually, Bangladesh were bowled out for 147. The second innings was slightly better as they were bowled out for 172.
The only threat for Bangladesh in the Test was Rabada and he finished the match with a 10-wicket haul.
So what went wrong for Bangladesh? It might be the patience factor. South African bowlers bowled a consistent line and length and gave enough short balls to the Bangladesh batsmen to test their nerve. And that paid off. On the other hand, Bangladesh bowlers were bowling with less patience and tried to bowl too many different variations. This paved the way for a run-fest from the opposition.
As the ODI series is knocking at the door, let’s hope Bangladesh will put on a better performance in the shorter formats and take lessons from the Test series in order to perform well in future.
The Tigers mainly depended on their spinners for success at home against the established cricket-playing nations in the last few years. But when they tour abroad, they are found wanting, especially the pacemen and batsmen, who don’t find pace-friendly tracks at home.
As a result, the Bangladesh pacers and batsmen faced the music against the Proteas. The batsmen especially, had a tough time encountering the opposition fast bowlers, who seemed miles ahead than the Tigers. The Bangladesh pacers also found out that they are lagging behind the opponent’s fast bowlers, who bowled consistent line and lengths, compared to the Tigers.
Hopefully the lessons learned in the two-Test series against the Proteas will stand Bangladesh in good stead for the future and when the next away tour comes around, the Tigers will learn from their mistakes and produce a better display in red-ball cricket.