The National Times - Attacking South African plan pays off as Bangladesh lose three

Attacking South African plan pays off as Bangladesh lose three

Attacking South African plan pays off as Bangladesh lose three
Attacking South African plan pays off as Bangladesh lose three

South Africa's strategy came together as Bangladesh lost three quick wickets at the end of the third day of the second Test at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

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Spinners Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer, sharing the new ball, reduced Bangladesh to 27 for three after setting the tourists an improbable 413 to win.

The collapse came exactly a week after the same two bowlers had Bangladesh reeling at 11 for three at the end of the fourth day in the first Test in Durban, setting up a 220-run win for South Africa.

It was all planned, according to South African opening batsman Sarel Erwee, who explained that the hosts went for their shots before declaring in the second innings in order to pose Bangladesh another trial by spin in twilight conditions.

"We had (wanted) a minimum score of 400 runs lead before we declared and a certain amount of overs to get that lead," said Erwee. "So it was always in the plan. I suppose that's why you saw some positive shot-making while we were batting."

Erwee said that a declaration with more than two days remaining was in keeping with the policy of captain Dean Elgar and coach Mark Boucher.

"It's a state of mind, our mentality," said Erwee. "Dean's driving it into us. We want to be positive cricketers, we want to lead from the front. It's a positive decision that he's taken and that we take as a team.

"We've got to follow through with that. That's what we're trying to instil in this Test side and South African cricket, from Dean and coach Boucher."

Erwee said the decision to put spin pressure on Bangladesh was at least partly the result of the experience he and fellow opening batsman Elgar had at the end of the third day in Durban when they had to survive two tricky overs of spin.

"It makes your hearts flutter. It's not a nice period, that twilight period. We've got two world-class spinners so it's even worse if you have to face them."

Maharaj struck in each of his first two overs as Bangladesh had to bat in fading light with the floodlights on.

Mahmudul Hasan was out first ball, edging the left-arm spinner to Wiaan Mulder at a short gully position off wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne's gloves. Mahmudul, who made a century in the first Test, was out for nought in the first innings as well, facing two balls.

Najmul Hossain went back on his stumps and was leg before to Maharaj before off-spinner Harmer dismissed Tamim Iqbal with the last ball of the day, caught at second slip off a ball which spun sharply and bounced to loop off the shoulder of his bat.

Bangladesh were earlier bowled out for 217 in their first innings, with Mushfiqur Rahim top-scoring with 51. Harmer took three wickets in 3.2 overs as the innings folded rapidly. Harmer finished with three for 39 while Maharaj took two for 57.

South Africa batted aggressively in their second innings and declared on 176 for six, scored at better than four runs an over.

Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam took three for 67 to finish with match figures of nine for 202.

Erwee top-scored for South Africa with 41, while Verreynne made a hard-hit 39 not out off 30 balls.