BANGLADESH put up a defiant performance on day three of the first Sunfoil Test match at Senwes Park on Saturday to keep the Standard Bank Proteas first innings lead in check and then prevent them from increasing it too rapidly.
When bad light brought play to a slightly early finish the Proteas still held a strong position, having turned their first innings lead of 176 into an overall advantage of 230 runs with 8 wickets still in hand.
But Bangladesh nevertheless deserved full credit for a gutsy performance which saw them win their first session of the game in the morning when they scored 91 runs for the loss of just Tamim Iqbal’s wicket – a first for debutant Andile Phehlukwayo in the five-day format.
Their spirited showing was built around the batting of Mominul Haque (77 off 150 balls, 12 fours) and Mahmudullah (66 off 124 balls, 11 fours and a six) who were largely responsible for the four successive half-century partnerships the visitors put together. Sadly neither batsman was able to go on to the century that Bangladesh needed.
It looked for a long time as though the Proteas might have a small first innings lead until they struck with the second new ball as the last five wickets fell for just 28 runs.
On a playing surface that demanded a lot of patience from the Proteas attack it was Keshav Maharaj who led the wicket-takers (3/92 in 27.1 overs) and there were two wickets each for the new ball spearhead of Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada.
There is still more than enough time left in the match for the Proteas to set Bangladesh a target somewhere in the region of 400 and Faf du Plessis’ main concern will be to give his bowlers enough overs to finish the job. He will want them to have substantial use of a second new ball which suggests he will want at least four sessions of play.