We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Rain is expected to play spoilsport on the first three days. It is, hence, better for the fantasy players to narrow down their teams on the toss result.
With a thick film of grass nicely resting on the wicket of St. George’s Park and some wind whistling across the venue, the pacers are likely to put the batters on the backfoot throughout the weekend.
Probable XI for South Africa: Dean Elgar (c), Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Ryan Rickelton, Temba Bavuma, Kyle Verreynne (wk), Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Simon Harmer, Lizaad Williams, Lutho Sipamla
Probable XI for Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque (c), Mushfiqur Rahim, Yasir Ali, Litton Das (wk), Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Abu Jayed/Shohidul Islam, Khaled Hossain, Ebadot Hossain
Bangladesh’s highest run-scorer of 2021, Liton Das, played an innings of substance and added vital runs (41 off 92) lower down the order. He started the innings with defence and then scaled up the scoring rate as wickets tumbled at the other end.
Bangladesh fell prey to their own strengths. The spin-bowling of Keshav Maharaj had them in a maze on a wicket that looked comfortable for batting. Maharaj won the Player of the Match award for his bowling figures of 7 for 32. He also has an excellent record at St. George’s Park: two five-fors in five Tests.
Had it not been for Mahmudul Hasan Joy’s splendid 137 off 326, Bangladesh would have stared down the barrel in the first innings. His dogged batting kept the rampaging South African bowlers at bay.
Dean Elgar continued his good form, scoring 67 and 64 and setting up the foundations. At the venue, he has scored 571 runs at 48 including three fifties and two hundreds in eight games.
Since the series against India, Temba Bavuma has scored 418 runs at 46 including three fifties. He missed out on a well-deserving hundred by a mere 7 runs at Durban.
Mehidy Hasan was the best of the lot for Bangladesh. He took six wickets in the match and provided handy fantasy points with his knock of 29 runs.
Simon Harmer had a memorable return to the Test squad. He followed his four-for with a three-for in the second innings. Above all, his innings of 38* showcased his talent with the bat. Another such all-around performance and he will be a fantasy player’s favourite pick.
Tamim Iqbal missed the opening game due to a stomach ailment and is now available for the series-saving game. Against South Africa, however, he is yet to make any impact. He averages a meagre 17 in seven Tests. His highest score reads 57, but the fact that it came at home does not make his case any stronger.
Keegan Pietersen, South Africa’s rising star, had a quiet game by his standards, failing to capitalise on a good start – one of which was a run out. He, however, looked composed as ever until he lasted. Very unlikely that he will repeat the same mistakes, especially for a man who is equipped with superior technique.
South Africa beat India at home and then drew the series in New Zealand. On the other hand, Bangladesh followed their historic ODI series win with an embarrassing loss at Durban. If anything, Bangladesh blundered and South Africa, despite playing without five key players, put up a brilliant performance. With the wicket and weather conditions favouring the pacers for the final game, South Africa seem ahead in the race.
Time: April 8, 1:30 PM IST