Bangladesh v South Africa, 1st Test, Mirpur, 5th day
South Africa held off by Aftab and late stand
February 26, 2008
614/8 dec (Smith 159, Prince 110, Rafique 3/93) & 200/2 dec ( Amla 85*, Kallis 60*) drew with Bangladesh
510 (Rahim 134, Ashraful 93, Smith 3/58) & 220/8 (Aftab 85, Siddique 53, Kallis 2/36, Steyn 2/40)
Bangladesh held on by the skin of their teeth to manage a draw in the 1st of the two test series in Mirpur. Aftab Ahmed and Junaid Siddique both hit fifties as South Africa fell 2 wickets short of an expected victory. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis made unbeaten half centuries before Graeme Smith declared 304 ahead half way through the morning session. But crucial partnerships in the middle order and at the end were vital as Bangladesh managed to grab a draw after South Africa made a mammoth 614/8 dec in the first innings.
South Africa started the day on 113/2, Amla and kallis at the crease looking to push things on. They did just that as they scored 87 in the 17 overs they batted, a run rate of just over 5 runs per over. Amla finished on 85* from 128 deliveries and Kallis 60* from 63.
South Africa needed to take 10 wickets in the 74 overs left in the day's play. Makhaya Ntini got the early breakthrough in the 12th over, Nafees caught at slip by Smith for just 11. Morkel then got 2 in 3, dismissing Saleh for 8 and then the Bangladesh skipper, Mohammad Ashraful, for a 2 ball duck. Bangladesh were struggling at 53 for 3, still 53 overs from safety. Then came the crucial partnership between Siddique and Aftab of 67. It took Siddique 126 deliveries to reach a well deserved fifty, but he fell shortly after, Ntini claiming his 2nd wicket. Aftab continued to stay calm and he and the century maker from the 1st innings, Mushfiqur Rahim, put on 42 runs together.
Steyn then showed why he is one of the best bowlers in the world at the moment, dismissing Rahim first for 18 and then Rafique 3 balls later for a duck, both caught by Kallis at slip. Aftab stayed put whilst others fell around him, and he reached his 2nd half century in the game from 93 balls. From 121 for 4 and Aftab and Siddique settled at lunch, Bangladesh had fallen to 163 for 6 and looked in big trouble, still 14 overs from safety and with the bowlers now at the crease.
Mortaza came in and put on a decent partnership with Aftab and all looked to be comfortable again for Bangladesh. But the introduction of Jacques Kallis changed everything. Kallis took a wicket with his 2nd ball of his spell, Mortaza the man to go for 5. This brought Reza to the crease, and with the field in a very attacking mode he surprisingly took advantage by hitting a few fours. Kallis though put Bangladeshi hearts in their mouths, getting rid of Aftab for 85 15 balls from safety. But number 10 Hossain was positive and hit 15 runs, including a huge six over midwicket, from just 10 balls to get his side home.
South Africa will be disappointed with the result, especially after making 600+ in the 1st innings. On the other hand, Bangladesh will be extremely happy with their batting and the way they conducted themselves under pressure. South Africa will need to improve their bowling for the 2nd test to make sure they clinch what was predicted as an easy series win for the visitors.