Cricket: Du Plessis wants no respite for Bangladesh

POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa: If Bangladesh’s batsmen found the going tough in the first Test, they can expect it to be even more difficult in the second match if South African captain Faf du Plessis gets his way.

“I’m on the groundsman’s case,” Du Plessis said after South Africa bowled out Bangladesh for 90 to complete a crushing 333-run win on the fifth day of the first Test at Senwes Park on Monday.

Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada took three for 33 and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj four for 25 as the tourists lost their last seven wickets for 41 runs in less than an hour and a half.

“I was really disappointed with the conditions. They were not what we asked for,” said Du Plessis, who praised the performance of his bowlers on a pitch in Potchefstroom which he described as a “flattie”.

Du Plessis said he expected the pitch for the second Test, starting in Bloemfontein on Friday, to be more helpful to South Africa’s fast bowlers.

“Hopefully there will be a bit more grass on the pitch in Bloemfontein,” he said. “I am expecting more bounce and carry.”

Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim admitted his team had missed an opportunity to be more competitive on a pitch which some observers felt was more akin to conditions in the Asian sub-continent than those usually found in South Africa.

Rahim astonished most commentators when he sent South Africa in after winning the toss. The hosts piled up 496 for three declared, with man of the match Dean Elgar making 199, new cap Aiden Markram 97 and Hashim Amla 137.

Bangladesh were never in the game after that despite good half-centuries from Mominul Haque and Mahmudullah in a first innings total of 320.

Rahim said he “probably” would bat if he had the chance again but said his bowlers had let the team down in the first innings.

“I did not know the wicket would be this flat. It was a flat track but they didn’t put the ball in the right areas,” he said.

The Bangladesh captain, first man out in a devastating three-wicket spell by Rabada at the start of play on Monday, said: “I can’t remember the last time we were bowled out for less than 100. We didn’t show our character or our fighting abilities.”

He said the batting of Mominul and Mahmudullah and the second innings bowling of Mustafizur Rahman were positives for the tourists.

Rahim said his team needed to be “a bit more mentally tough” in the second Test.

Morkel blow –

Du Plessis said he was happy with the way South Africa had executed their skills in the first match of a ten-Test home summer but admitted that the loss of fast bowler Morne Morkel was a big blow.

Morkel, who took the first two wickets on Sunday, left the field with a side strain before completing his opening spell and is expected to be out of action for about six weeks.

Morkel joins fellow fast bowlers Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris on the sidelines because of injury

“To lose another key member of our bowling attack is very disappointing,” said Du Plessis. “Standing behind Morne (in the slips) is fantastic. He’s bowling a touch fuller and he’s hitting the stumps. He’s reached that level as a bowler that everyone expected him to be.”