Smith ton pulverises Bangladesh

Graeme Smith smashed an unbeaten century to guide South Africa to an emphatic nine-wicket win in the first one-day international against Bangladesh on Sunday.

Smith (27) hit 14 fours and a six in his 118-ball 103 as South Africa surpassed the victory target of 178 with as many as 13.1 overs to spare in a lop-sided contest at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium.

The South African skipper put on 143 runs for the opening wicket with Herschelle Gibbs, who made a fine 57 off 84 balls with eight fours and a six.

The clinical performance by the South African openers complemented the effort of the bowlers, who did well in restricting the hosts to 178, built around a career-best 82 by teenage opener Tamim Iqbal.

The strategy of the home side to unleash a three-pronged left-arm spin attack failed miserably as the rival batsmen had little difficulty in negotiating the turn.

Skipper Mohammad Ashraful, in fact, tossed the new ball to spinner Abdur Razzak and did not introduce strike bowler Shahadat Hossain till as late as the 20th over—a tactic that backfired spectacularly.

Hossain, in impressive form in the preceding Test series, cut a sorry figure in the end, conceding 31 runs off the three overs that he bowled in all.

Smith, enjoying a purple patch after having collected 304 runs from the two Tests, carried his form to the one-dayers, reaching his seventh one-day century with a six that also brought off the winning runs.

Gibbs completed his 34th fifty with a four off debutant left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain and followed it up with an imperiously driven six straight down the ground.

But his belligerence was cut short by Shakib Al Hasan, who trapped him plumb before the wicket with a ball that kept low—the only success with the ball for the hapless home team.

Earlier, 18-year-old Iqbal hit nine fours and a six in his 98-ball innings to prop up the Bangladesh innings, which was tottering at 89-4 at the halfway mark after Ashraful had elected to bat.

Iqbal reached his fourth fifty with a single off Johan Botha and raised his bat to acknowledge the cheers from a strong home crowd.

His entertaining knock came to an end in a rather tame fashion when he heaved one straight to long-on fielder Albie Morkel off Paul Harris.

Paceman Andre Nel picked the best figures of 3-24, while spinners Harris and Botha took two each as Bangladesh folded up in 48.2 overs.

Bangladesh awarded one-day caps to Dhiman Ghosh, Roqibul Hassan and Mosharraf while South Africa blooded Hashim Amla and Harris.

The second and third one-dayers will be played in Dhaka on Wednesday and Friday.—AFP

Abhaya Srivastava

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