THE Standard Bank Proteas overcame the duel handicaps of losing their bowling spearhead, Morne Morkel, with a side strain and a substantial amount of time to bad weather to push strongly for victory over Bangladesh on the fourth day of the first Sunfoil Test match at Senwes Park on Sunday.
Being well aware of the inclement weather in the vicinity Faf du Plessis and Temba Bavuma led a determined to drive to lift the scoring rate in the South African second innings after the early loss of Hashim Amla’s wicket.
The pair were largely responsible for an impressive 149 runs being scored in the morning session without further loss at a rate of more than 5 to the over. Their final stand was worth 142 runs in just 29 overs with Du Plessis making 81 (101 balls, 6 fours and a six) and Bavuma 71 (107 balls, 7 fours).
There were a few lusty blows from Keshav Maharaj before Du Plessis applied the declaration, setting Bangladesh a target of 424 runs.
Morkel then gave the Proteas an irresistible surge towards victory as he took two wickets in his opening over and would have had a third had he not overstepped the crease when he castled the visiting captain, Mushfiqur Raheem. The latter went on to survive until the tea break which turned out to be the end of the day’s play as well but he lost a key partner in the final over when Maharaj had Imrul Kayes caught by Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.
It left Bangladesh with more than a mountain to climb at 49/3 and, even allowing for the probable loss of Morkel for the rest of the game, they still have enough other trump cards to play. This applies particularly to Maharaj who has posed enormous problems now that the pitch is finally starting to display some wear and tear.