Bangladesh fight back after Morkel heroics

Bangladesh bounced back into the reckoning after South African paceman Morne Morkel rocked the hosts with a five-wicket haul in the opening Test on Friday.

After being bowled out for a sub-par 192, Bangladesh struck through the pace-spin combination of Shahadat Hossain and Mohammad Rafique to reduce the visitors to 76-4 at stumps.

Hossain sent back openers Graeme Smith (10) and Neil McKenzie (five) while left-arm spinner Rafique claimed the wickets of Hashim Amla and the dangerous Jacques Kallis (17).

Smith, leading his side in a national record 53rd Test, played on to his stumps while McKenzie and Amla (25) were trapped leg before wicket.

Kallis lost his wicket to a ball that kept low and crashed on to his off-stump, a dismissal that sent the home fans into a frenzy at the Sher-e-Bangla Mirpur stadium.

At stumps, Ashwell Prince, batting on nine, and Johan Botha, on five, were at the crease.

The exploits of the Bangladesh bowlers followed the heroics of Morkel, playing in only his second Test after making his debut against India in 2006.

The 23-year-old bowler finished with 5-50, which included two wickets off two balls in the post-lunch session.

Bangladesh, who have won just one of their 51 Tests—against minnows Zimbabwe—struggled for most of the day, losing their first five wickets for just 85.

Middle-order batsman Aftab Ahmed showed some application, though, top-scoring with 44 and putting on a vital 70-run partnership with Shakib Al Hasan (30).

Captain Mohammad Ashraful made a brisk 34 off 27 balls with seven fours before falling prey to Botha, also playing his first Test in two years.

Quick bowler Dale Steyn complemented the efforts of Morkel by picking 3-27 while off-spinner Botha chipped in with two on an easy paced wicket.

The hosts got off to a disastrous start after they won the toss and elected to bat, losing young openers Junaid Siddique and Tamim Iqbal to Steyn.

The left-handed Iqbal was out for a duck as he tried to flick one past midwicket but got a thick inside edge, which was scooped up by the bowler.

Siddique (1) edged one behind to Mark Boucher, who equalled Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist’s record for most Test dismissals (416).

Habibul Bhashar, under pressure to retain his place in the Test squad after being axed from the one-day side, failed yet again when he offered a simple catch to McKenzie in the slips for 11.

Morkel then took two wickets in two balls, dismissing Hasan and Rafique.

The latter, however, was unlucky to be adjudged leg before wicket by Steve Bucknor, who was officiating in his first match since the infamous Sydney Test between India and Australia last month.

TV replays showed the batsman getting a thick inside edge with no pad involved but Bucknor raised the finger after a prolonged appeal by Morkel.—AFP


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