Home Sport Cricket Proteas keep their grip on Test despite Joy’s historic century

Proteas keep their grip on Test despite Joy’s historic century

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Proteas openers Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee walk off the field at the end of the day on day three of the first Test against Bangladesh at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on Saturday
Proteas openers Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee walk off the field at the end of the day on day three of the first Test against Bangladesh at Kingsmead Stadium in Durban on Saturday. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Despite Mahmudul Hasan Joy becoming the first Bangladeshi player to score a Test century against South Africa, Dean Elgar’s men finished day three of the first Test with a solid lead.

Johannesburg — On Saturday afternoon, Dean Elgar would have looked around his team, and right then he would have yearned for Kagiso Rabada, or Lungi Ngidi or Marco Jansen.

South Africa has battled hard in this first Test, which is a tribute to Bangladesh. As Elgar’s vice captain and the skipper of the limited overs team, Temba Bavuma can attest, this is not the Bangladesh side of years gone by.

This is a more resolute group, a characteristic they have shown over and over again on this tour and in this match. That resilience was embodied no more clearly than by Mahmudul Hasan Joy. His innings was historic, the first Test hundred by a Bangladeshi batter against South Africa.

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It was the backbone of the touring team’s innings and despite South Africa creating opportunities – one of which was crucially missed by Elgar in the morning when he dropped Litton Das – during the afternoon, especially with the second new ball he would have been desperate to call on a Rabada, Ngidi or Jansen.

While the pitch for the most part played very well, as Lizaad Williams’ dismissal of Das with the second ball after lunch showed, there was some inconsistent bounce which taller bowlers like the trio currently playing in the IPL, would have been able to exploit better.

South Africa was able to utilise its resources well on Friday afternoon, when the two spinners, Simon Harmer and Keshav Maharaj tied down the tourists. That changed on Saturday with Bangladesh choosing to be more assertive.

ALSO READ: Proteas keep their nerve on day one of first Test against Bangladesh

Joy had indicated as much by thrashing the first ball Harmer bowled in the morning to the long off boundary. In the next over he smashed him for six over long on. Although Maharaj was still keeping a rein on the scoring and Harmer after conceding 23 runs off his first three overs, put the brakes on the Bangladeshis, that aggression set the tone for the rest of the day.

Elgar had to go back to Williams and Duanne Olivier and after tea put Wiaan Mulder onto bowl as well. South Africa still had a solid lead, but a substantial one, which would have allowed them to dictate the remainder of the match, was taken away.

Joy was superb. It was an old-fashioned opener’s innings. He was resolute against the spinners on Friday afternoon and saw off two new balls showing plenty of skill and courage. He spent over seven hours compiling his 137, facing 326 balls and hitting 15 fours and two sixes. The previous best score by a Bangladeshi batter against South Africa was the current captain Mominul Haque’s 77, which came in Potchefstroom five years ago.

It was an innings indicative of the growth in that team, and the self-belief that head coach Russel Domingo has helped to install in the squad. There were times in this match when the Bangladesh side of old might have folded; the first session when they conceded 95 runs to South Africa’s openers, or at 216/7 when Yasir Ali was run out in silly fashion.

But Joy stayed strong, shared crucial partnerships for the sixth wicket with Das that was worth 81 and then an eighth wicket stand worth 56 with the impressive Mehidy.

Instead of a lead of more than 100, South Africa had to be satisfied with 69 runs, and it would have been the hosts who were grateful for their ninth and tenth wicket partnerships which equalled that figure at the end of the first innings.

South Africa still have control of this match – a lead of 75 – and they will want to build on that on Sunday.

However, it was Bangladesh who left the ground on Saturday evening with joy in their hearts.

SCORECARD

Day 3 of 5: Bad light stopped play

South Africa 367 and 6/0

Bangladesh 298

@shockerhess

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