SA bowlers earn fearsome reputation

South Africa’s bowlers are fast earning a bloody reputation of injuring rival batsmen after the latest incident, involving Bangladesh’s Aftab Ahmed, in the second Test.

Ahmed was left with a bloodied cheekbone after a short ball from Jacques Kallis bounced through his helmet grille and hit him just below the right eye on the third day of the match at the Chittagong Divisional stadium.

The middle-order batsman had to be stretchered off, writhing in agony, to the hospital where scans revealed a serious injury to the cheekbone.

Ahmed’s agony may have reminded the Proteas of the blow dealt to New Zealand batsman Craig Cumming during their home series in November last year.

Cumming had to undergo an operation to repair ”multiple facial fractures” after he mis-timed an attempted hook off Dale Steyn and the ball hit him on the right cheek.

West Indies batsman Chris Gayle was also at the receiving end of hostile pace bowling when he broke his left thumb off an Andre Nel delivery in the second Test at Cape Town in January this year.

The South African fast bowlers, often touching a pace of about 150km/h, have proved more than a handful for the Bangladeshi batsmen in this two-Test series, despite the wickets offering little assistance.

Relentless chin music from the likes of Steyn, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and even Kallis has left the hosts’ dressing room bruised and in tatters.

Ntini was all for speedsters rattling the opposition through sheer pace, and praised Steyn for his bowling, which saw him take three wickets in four balls on Saturday.

”He’s only 24. He’s going to be a killer one day,” Ntini said.

”The bouncer is one of our weapons; we definitely scared their batsmen.”

Bangladesh batsman Shahriar Nafees, however, insisted the players were not terrified of the South African pace attack.

”It might have seemed that way from the stands, but our players were prepared for a barrage of short-pitched deliveries. We are never scared to face any kind of attack,” he said.

All eyes will be on what the bowlers unleash when they travel to India for a three-Test series starting later this month, and whether they get back a dose of their own medicine when they tour Australia at the end of the year. — AFP



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

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