If one goes by history, South Africa will be the favourites going into the Mirpur Test. They have never lost Test to Bangladesh till date, and have dominated them each and every time. But, the fact is that times are changing and Bangladesh are not the weak force they once used to be. This has been evident in recent times. Apart from beating India and Pakistan in ODIs, Bangladesh also defeated South Africa in the one-day series. And while the first Test at Chittagong was marred by rain, Bangladesh can claim to have the psychological edge after their performance.
Without doubt, Bangladesh dominated the first Test at Chittagong. They bowled out South Africa for the first time in the history of their Tests. It was a wonderful bowling performance from the Bangladesh bowlers that kept the Proteas on the back foot. Mustafizur Rahman, after impressive performances in the one-dayers, made an equally memorable Test debut as well. He bowled brilliantly, and South Africa continued to stumble against him. He was very well supported by Mohammad Shahid and Jubair Hossain, both of whom made crucial contributions. Shahid, in particular stood out, bowling a number of dot balls, constantly building the pressure.
Bangladesh also did well with the bat, although they could have done better. If the hosts want to look at the positive side, three of their batsmen got fifties. Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudullah and Litton Das all crossed the half-century mark. And, while that aided Bangladesh in taking the first-innings lead, at the same time, none of them got anywhere close to the three-figure mark. Bangladesh had a great opportunity to build further pressure on South Africa, but that did not happen. Also, the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim got starts, but did not carry on.
South Africa, on the other hand, would be hopeful of putting up an improved show, especially with the bat. Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla need to get among the runs while others like Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma need to convert their starts. All eyes though would be Dale Steyn, who is one short of 400 wickets. The South African speedster wasn’t highly effective at Chittagong, but still managed three wickets. He will be keen to cross the 400 mark with a better effort. Above all, both teams would hope for the rain to stay away, and allow play.
--By A Cricket Analyst