Proteas look for better performance in second Test

After a rude awakening in the opening Test, South Africa will be looking for a more reassuring performance when they meet Bangladesh in the second and final match starting on Friday.

Though the South Africans won the opener in Dhaka by a five-wicket margin and with nearly two days to spare, they conceded a first-innings lead to their underrated rivals and largely looked out of sorts while batting.

To the credit of the hosts, they gave it their all but lacked the killer punch that could have upstaged their mighty opponents.

Paceman Shahadat Hossain impressed the most among the bowlers with a nine-wicket match haul, while young opener Junaid Siddique also showed he has the temperament to succeed at the highest level.

The South African batting looked in disarray, with only skipper Graeme Smith managing a half-century in either innings.

The way some of the South African batters lost their wicket smacked of over-confidence, although they did make amends somewhat in reaching the 205-run target, their highest successful run chase on the sub-continent.

Smith admitted the game had served as a wake-up call for his team, which was still trying to come to terms with the conditions.

”After three months of playing at home, in a different style, using a certain game plan, this was a big wake-up call,” he said.

”I’m glad the normal Test team is here so we can realise again how tough it is to play here.

”Our style of playing we were brought up on has turned from day to night here. You need a whole different technique as a batsman, as a bowler, in your thinking method … It all changes.

”We have to start working harder. If we can last in these conditions, we will be well prepared when we go to India,” Smith added.

The Proteas will once again be distracted by the selection row that marred the build-up to this series, with talks about a disciplinary hearing involving board president Norman Arendse being held over the weekend back home.

There was also speculation that some of the players, including Smith, would return home after the Test for a short break ahead of the three-Test series against India.

However, media manager Michael Owen-Smith said a decision was yet to be taken on their departure.

For Bangladesh, the chief worry is the form of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and veteran batsman Habibul Bashar.

While Bashar, already axed from the one-day side, looks likely to make way for a youngster in the batting line-up, Rahim may be persisted with because of the faith of coach Jamie Siddons in his abilities.

The Test will be followed by three one-dayers. — AFP



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Abhaya Srivastava
Abhaya Srivastava is Agence France Presses South Asia special correspondent.

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