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1st Test, Day 4: Late strikes by spinners put S Africa in control against Bangladesh

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Durban, April 3 (IANS) Bangladesh were reeling at 11-3 in their second innings in the 274-run chase as late strikes by spinners — Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer — put South Africa in a commanding position at the end of Day 4 in the first Test of the two match series, here on Sunday.

With Najmul Hossain Shanto (5 not out) and Mushfiqur Rahim (0 not out) at the crease, Bangladesh now need 263 runs on Day 5 to win the first Test.

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Resuming their innings on day four at 4/0, South Africa’s opening pair looked to augment their lead of 75 runs. On the other hand, opening up with the seam of Khaled Ahmed and the spin of Mehidy Hasan, Bangladesh looked to make in-roads in the early exchanges. And in just the second over of the day, they came agonisingly close to the prized wicket of Dean Elgar as, upon review, the batter narrowly survived by umpire’s call.

As The Tigers’ attack continued to probe away, with several close LBW appeals and a string of unplayable deliveries by Mehidy, a wicket appeared close on the horizon. Finally, the visitors had the wicket their efforts deserved as Ebadot Hossain trapped Sarel Erwee (8) LBW, prompting the bowlers’ trademark salute celebration.

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Despite Bangladesh’s best efforts, Dean Elgar continued to stay resolute as he approached a half-century. However, a few runs shy of the landmark, Hossain induced an edge from Elgar with a chance bursting through the hands of Yasir Ali at 2nd slip.

And just an over later, the South African captain raised his bat upon reaching fifty, his 21st Test half-century. At lunch on day four, Bangladesh will review the morning session with a sense that their dominant performance with the ball should have been far more fruitful than just the sole wicket of Erwee for the cost of 99 runs.

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Moving into the afternoon session, Bangladesh turned to Taskin Ahmed. Despite having to battle through a shoulder injury, Ahmed struck gold with the wicket of Elgar (64) after a successful review, an ICC report said.

Bringing a fresh batter to the crease, Temba Bavuma, the visitors aimed to seize the initiative as a close run-out chance and the edge fell narrowly short of the man at slip. The pressure on the South African batters finally told as wickets in back to back overs – Petersen (32) caught at short-leg off Mehidy and, Bavuma (4) succumbing to a spectacular diving catch by Yasir Ali in the slips – left the hosts with two fresh faces at the crease.

After a few overs of calm for the pair in the middle, Mehidy looked to have struck once again as Kyle Verreynne was given out LBW. But on review, Verreynne survived as the ball appeared to bounce and turn too much.

The disappointment was short-lived for Mehidy as in his subsequent over, he had his man. In attempting a reverse sweep, the ball caught the bottom edge of Verreynne’s bat, deflecting off his pad into the grateful grasp of Shadman Islam at silly-point.

Requiring a steadying influence, Wiaan Mulder, after enduring a few early chances, alongside Ryan Rickelton, set about getting the Proteas innings back on track.

The pair led South Africa safely through to the interval after a session that belonged to the visitors – 52 runs for the loss of four wickets. Just four overs after the tea interval, Bangladesh continued where left off as a wild flashing cover drive from Wiaan Mulder (11) caught the outside edge diverting the ball straight into the path of Ali at slip.

With Maharaj following Mulder in the next over, the South African innings looked to be coming to a close. And after a brief 8th wicket partnership, the Proteas innings came to a close in calamitous style as the final three wickets fell in two overs.

Setting Bangladesh 274 to win, South Africa’s defence got off to the perfect start. Starting with the spin pair of Harmer and Maharaj, the duo mesmerised Bangladesh’s top order batters with some high-quality spin.

In a short six over spell before the close of play, South Africa’s spinners completely turned the tide of the match with three wickets costing just 11 runs. Harmer struck the first blow, with Maharaj claiming the following two wickets.

Brief scores: South Africa 367 & 204 (Dean Elgar 64; Ebadot Hossain 2-40, Mehidy Hasan 2-85) lead Bangladesh 298 (Mahmudul Hasan Joy 137, Liton Das 41; Simon Harmer 4-103) & 11/3 (Keshav Maharaj 2-7) by 262 runs



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Himanshi Khurana

Hina Khan

Ananya Panday

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