Time: 31 Mar, 1.30 PM IST
Venue: Kingsmead, Durban
It is very tough to read and prepare for a Test match at Kingsmead. The pitch can go from an absolute batting beauty to a batting grave in a matter of a day. Rain is also forecast on days two, three, and four.
Probable XI for South Africa: Dean Elgar (c), Sarel Erwee, Keegan Petersen, Temba Bavuma, Khaya Zondo, Ryan Rickelton (wk), Wiaan Mulder, Keshav Maharaj, Duanne Olivier, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman
Probable XI for Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Shadman Islam, Mominul Haque (c), Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Liton Das, Mehidy Hasan, Taskin Ahmed, Ebadot Hossain, Shoriful Islam, Taijul Islam/Abu Jayed
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on the recent performances, overall impact, and credit points.
Although Dean Elgar might be averaging only 32 in his last 5 Tests, he still remains South Africa’s prime batter. He will have to shoulder the batting responsibility. When the two teams last met in 2017, he scored 330 runs, including the highest score of 199.
Shakib Al Hasan’s role with both bat and ball helped Bangladesh register a famous ODI series win over South Africa. If the tourists are to repeat their heroics in the Tests as well, the star all-rounder will have come up with another all-round performance. In his last 5 Tests, Shakib has scored 302 runs and taken 14 wickets.
Liton Das has been Bangladesh’s best batter (one hundred and three fifties) in white-ball cricket lately. Given how confident he appeared in the ODI series, one would expect him to carry his rich form going forward. The last time he batted against South Africa in Tests, he scored 70 and 18.
It was Taskin Ahmed’s 5 for 35 in the final ODI that sealed the series for Bangladesh. Post his series-winning spell, Taskin will be brimming with confidence and should test the relatively inexperienced South African batters.
Keshav Maharaj is likely to be the only spinner to find a place in the playing XI. When Bangladesh last toured South Africa, he picked 8 wickets in 2 Tests.
Mehidy Hasan bagged 6 wickets and also contributed useful runs (38 and 19*) with the bat down the order. He is a street-smart cricketer, capable of identifying the big moments and delivering.
Sarel Erwee and Ryan Rickelton’s centuries proved to be vital for South Africa as they beat New Zealand to square the series. While Erwee will open the batting, Rickelton will slot in the middle-order and also keep wickets.
Given the absence of Kagiso Rabada, Marco Jansen, and Lungi Ngidi, South Africa will pin their hopes on seamers Duanne Olivier and Lutho Sipamla for regular breakthroughs.
After missing out on touring New Zealand, Keegan Petersen will be itching to feel the ball onto the bat. Not too long ago, he won the Player of the Series award for scoring 276 runs against India back home. If Bangladesh don’t get him early, they could chase leather for longer periods.
Both sides have met 12 times in Test cricket, with South Africa coming out on top on 10 occasions. That said, the tourists will have a big opportunity to stun the hosts as the Proteas are missing several big names from their squad. As far as recent form goes, South Africa and Bangladesh both drew their two-match Test series 1-1 in New Zealand.