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Seven-star Maharaj helps South Africa sweep series with a 332-run win over Bangladesh

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Gqeberha (S.Africa), April 11 (IANS) Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj hit Bangladesh hard with his second seven-wicket haul of the series as South Africa clinched a crushing 332-run win over Bangladesh in the second and final Test at St George’s Park on Monday to seal the series 2-0. Maharaj’s 7/40 was supported by off-spinner Simon Harmer taking 3/34.

Bangladesh’s resistance lasted just around an hour on day four as Maharaj and Harmer ran through the batting line-up, bowling out the visitors for just 80 in 23.3 overs. The series win means South Africa harden their grip on the second position in the ICC Men’s World Test Championship table, with a points percentage of 71.42 while Bangladesh are second from the bottom with 16.66 percentage of points.

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The start of day four wasn’t the best for South Africa as opener Sarel Erwee and all-rounder Wiaan Mulder tested positive for Covid-19 and were replaced by debutant Khaya Zondo and Glenton Sturrman. Resuming from 27/3, Bangladesh lost their veteran batters, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mominul Haque, in consecutive Maharaj overs.

Rahim survived a few close shaves against Harmer but against Maharaj, he went for an adventurous cover drive and edged to captain Dean Elgar at slip. It was then Mominul Haque’s turn to fall to Maharaj, sweeping straight to square leg.

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Yasir Ali didn’t look to hang around and went for a big slog-sweep but holed out to deep mid-wicket for a duck off Harmer. Liton Das and Mehidy Hasan Miraz stitched a 25-run stand. But Das came out of the crease off Maharaj and was stumped by Kyle Verreynne.

From there onwards, the result was a foregone conclusion as Maharaj took Mehidy Hasan Miraz and Khaled Ahmed in quick succession. With his second seven-wicket haul of the series, Maharaj became the first player in Test history to complete two seven-fors in the fourth innings of back-to-back Test matches.

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Harmer finished off the game by trapping Taijul Islam for a duck, ending Bangladesh’s misery. Maharaj was the unanimous choice for the Player of the Match award and also took home the Player of the Series crown for an overall tally of 16 wickets in the series.

Brief scores: South Africa 453 and 176 for 6 dec beat Bangladesh 217 and 80 all out in 23.3 overs (Litton Das 27, Keshav Maharaj 7/40, Simon Harmer 3/34) by 332 runs

–IANS

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Sidharth Shukla

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