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The Proteas and the Tigers


South_Africa_Bangladesh_Test_history_cricketBangladesh’s third Test series in South Africa, their first in nine years, is underway with the first Test having begun at the Senwes Park in Potchefstroom. Incidentally, the only Test played at this venue thus far had been during Bangladesh’s first outing in South Africa, back in 2002-03. The two teams have clashed ten times in whites, and these contests have produced quite a few extraordinary records and performances that made the cricketing fraternity sit up and take notice.

King Kallis decimates the Tigers

The greenhorn Bangladeshis endured a rough ride on their first tour of South Africa, losing both the Tests by an innings. The second, at Potchefstroom, saw South Africa pile up 482/5 in reply to Bangladesh’s 236, with Jacques Kallis (139*) sharing in a rollicking third-wicket stand of 234 with Gary Kirsten (160). The all-rounder faced 228 balls, hitting 18 fours and a six.

Kallis was not done yet - he went on to grab five second-innings wickets in just 12 balls as Bangladesh crashed from 95/5 to be bowled out for 108. His return of 5/21 included three wickets in an over, in the space of four balls. This was the second time that Kallis achieved the feat of scoring a century and taking a fifer in the same Test, having previously done it against the West Indies at Cape Town in 1998-99.

South Africa’s youngest Test captain

Shaun Pollock stepped down from the South African captaincy after a forgettable 2003 World Cup at home, and the reins were handed over to the immensely talented opener Graeme Smith. Smith’s first Test assignment as skipper was South Africa’s inaugural tour of Bangladesh in April 2003, making him, at 22 years and 82 days, the youngest player to captain his country, going past Murray Bisset, who was 22 years and 306 days old when he led against England in 1898-99.

Rudolph and Dippenaar make merry in Chittagong

Graeme Smith’s captaincy debut, at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong in 2003, ended in a comprehensive South African win, by an innings and 60 runs. This success was marked by a record-breaking third-wicket partnership between debutant Jacques Rudolph (222*) and Boeta Dippenaar (177*). After bowling the hosts out for 173, South Africa were 41/2 late on the first day when the duo came together in the middle.

They proceeded to add an unbroken 429 for the third wicket – then the third highest third-wicket stand in Tests, and South Africa’s highest for any wicket, bettering the 368 added by openers Smith and Herschelle Gibbs against Pakistan earlier in the year. Rudolph became only the fifth batsman to score a double century on Test debut, and his dream knock is the second highest by a debutant, behind only Tip Foster’s 287 for England against Australia at Sydney in 1903-04.

Swingy Shahadat takes the Proteas by surprise

South Africa were given a considerable scare in the first Test of the 2007-08 series at Dhaka, thanks to 21 year-old paceman Shahadat Hossain. Despite being bowled out for 192, Bangladesh managed a first-innings lead of 22 as Shahadat produced an excellent spell of reverse swing on his way to figures of 6/27. However, it was in vain as Jacques Kallis’ 5/30 in the second innings brought South Africa back in the game, and the target of 205 was chased down with five wickets in hand.

Smith and McKenzie rewrite the record books

For 52 years, the Test record for the highest opening partnership had stood unchallenged, the holders being India’s Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy, who put on 413 against New Zealand at Hyderabad in 1955-56. This was surpassed by the pair of Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie in the second Test of the 2007-08 series, as the love affair between Chittagong (at the Zarur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium this time) and gargantuan South African partnerships continued.

The score at the end of the first day read 405/0, and the record was duly broken early on the next day. Soon after, the stand, having fetched 415 runs in 94.3 overs, was finally broken as Smith fell for an attacking 232 from just 277 balls. McKenzie batted on before perishing for a more sedate 226. Staring at a mountainous total of 583/7, Bangladesh, who had given the visitors a run for their money in the first Test, were walloped by an innings and 205 runs.   

A one-man show from Shakib Al Hasan

Bangladesh’s tour of South Africa in 2008-09 was yet another disappointment, as they again suffered innings defeats in both the Tests. The silver lining was all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan’s bowling display. The left-arm spinner took 11 wickets – eight more than any other Bangladeshi and joint-highest with Makhaya Ntini - in two innings; 5/130 at Bloemfontein followed by 6/99, including the scalps of Kallis, Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers in a two-over span, at Centurion.

‘Fizz’ makes the ball talk on debut

Left-arm pacer Mustafizur ‘Fizz’ Rahman, all of 19, had a sensational start to his ODI career, taking 11 wickets in his first two games to script a maiden series win over India in June 2015. The following month, he made an impact on his first day of Test cricket as well, against South Africa at Chittagong. In his 14th over, Rahman (4/37) took the wickets of Hashim Amla (caught behind), JP Duminy (LBW) and Quinton de Kock (bowled) in the space of just four deliveries.


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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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