CHITTAGONG: Paceman Mustafizur Rahman enjoyed a dream Test debut yesterday, mowing through South Africa’s middle order as minnows Bangladesh made a strong start in the first Test against the top-ranked Proteas.
Mustafizur took 4-37, including three wickets in four balls, while leg spinner Jubair Hossain claimed 3-53 to help Bangladesh dismiss the visitors for just 248 in their first innings in Chittagong. Openers Tamim Iqbal (one) and Imrul Kayes (five) took the hosts to 7 without loss at stumps on the opening day. Temba Bavuma staged a lone fight to top-score with 54, his maiden Test fifty, before becoming the last man out as Jubair took an easy catch off Mustafizur at deep midwicket. Despite their recent success in one-day internationals, Bangladesh have a dismal Test record and face a daunting opponent in South Africa, the top-ranked team in Test cricket. But Mustafizur, who earned his Test cap after impressive performances in his first six ODIs, produced a magical spell in his 14th over to dismiss Hashim Amla (13), JP Duminy and Quinton De Kock in the last session of the day. He induced an edge from Amla to claim the South African captain for his first-ever Test wicket, caught behind by Litton Das. The next ball hit Duminy on his front foot but the umpire initially declared him not out, before Bangladesh successfully reviewed the decision. De Kock managed to deny the hat-trick but was late on a defensive push for the next ball which uprooted his off-stump, leaving South Africa reeling on 173-6. “I don’t have any regrets for missing out on the hat-trick,” Mustafizur told reporters. “I was not bowling that well in the first session. But I tried to bowl a few dot balls.
I knew if we create pressure from both the ends we will get success,” he said. Openers Dean Elgar and Stiaan van Zyl earlier put on 58 to give the visitors a solid start after Amla won the toss and chose to bat at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium. Off-spinner Mahmudullah took the wicket of van Zyl, who edged a catch to wicketkeeper Das down the leg side, handing Bangladesh their first success of the day. Left-arm spinner Taijul Islam then broke the 78-run second wicket stand between Elgar and Faf du Plessis when he removed Elgar for 47. Shakib Al Hasan struck in the next over, trapping du Plessis plumb in front for 48 to bring Bangladesh firmly back into the game. The visitors managed to add only 61 runs off 29 overs in the post-lunch session after resuming on 104-1. In the final session Mustafizur turned the tide with his decisive over before leg-spinner Jubair Hossain claimed three wickets to finish with 3- 53. South Africa’s Bavuma blamed lack of partnerships for their poor total. “The wicket was slow and we could not create any big partnerships,” he said. “Also we lost wickets at crucial moments, which cost us.” The second and final Test will start in Dhaka on July 30.—AFP