Taijul Islam keeps South Africa waiting for return of centuries

Issued on: 08/04/2022 – 19:50Modified: 08/04/2022 – 19:48

Gqeberha (South Africa) (AFP) – Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam ensured that South Africa’s quest for Test centuries at home was frustrated again on the first day of the second Test at St George’s Park in Gqeberha on Friday.

South African captain Dean Elgar said after winning the toss that he had set his batsmen the challenge of making centuries, but Taijul dismissed him for 70, which was South Africa’s highest score in a total of 278 for five.

Taijul also dismissed another set batsman when Keegan Petersen was given out leg before wicket on review for 64.

Taijul sent down 32 overs – 24 in one spell – and took three for 77.

“There is no margin for error on this pitch,” he said.

“Any width will be punished. There was a bit in it in the first hour but it became very flat as the day progressed. Now the ball is coming nicely onto the bat.”

South Africa were scoring freely early in the day but largely due to Taijul they were pegged back, losing three wickets and scoring only 122 runs in 51 overs after a brief rain interruption in mid-afternoon.

“We gave away too many boundaries but we did manage to pull things back and we need to be patient on day two,” said Taijul.

Petersen said he thought South Africa had “a decent score”.

However, he added: “The three wickets we lost at the back end of the day kind of leveled it out.”

Elgar earlier said the dry pitch “tied in” with South Africa’s selection of two spinners in Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer.

‘trick pitch’

Petersen described the pitch as “tricky”, with assistance for the seam bowlers.

Top score: South Africa captain Dean Elgar Marco Longari AFP

South Africa have not scored a Test century in a home match since Elgar and the now-retired Faf du Plessis succeeded against Sri Lanka in the 2020/21 season.

“We have had plenty of chances and quite a few fifties but no-one has really kicked on,” admitted Petersen.

Although South Africa were winning matches, “hundreds will put us in a better position.”

Taijul didn’t play when South Africa won the first Test in Durban by 220 runs but he virtually carried the bowling attack on Friday after replacing injured fast bowler Taskin Ahmed.

Fellow slow bowler, off-spinner Mehidy Hasan, was unable to exert the control he had in Durban and Taijul had to take over the role of keeping the scoring rate under control.

Following controversy over umpiring during the first test, two of Taijul’s wickets came after successful reviews.

Petersen was initially given not out by umpire Allahudien Paleker when he was struck on the pads after taking two strides out of his batting crease.

Bangladesh reviewed the decision, the ball was shown to be on target and television umpire Adrian Holdstock Petersen decided had not advanced the 2.5 meters necessary to get the benefit of the on-field umpire’s call.

The second successful review came when the left-handed Ryan Rickelton attempted a reverse sweep and the ball lobbed to Yasir Ali at slip.

Umpire Marais Erasmus turned down the appeal for a catch but replays showed the ball deflected off the glove covering his wrist.

Rickelton, playing in his second Test, made 42 and was looking threatening.

He used his feet to hit lofted shots against both Taijul and Mehidy in sharing an 83-run fourth-wicket partnership with Bavuma.

Bangladesh could have had a wicket in the third over of the day when an appeal for leg before wicket by Khaled Ahmed against Sarel Erwee was turned down but not reviewed, although replays showed the ball would have hit the top of leg stump.

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