Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla hit centuries as Bangladesh’s decision to send South Africa in to bat backfired on the first day of the first Test at Springbok Park on Wednesday.
South Africa were 299 for one at the end of a day shortened by rain and bad light. South African captain Smith was unbeaten on 138 and Amla had 103.
Smith and Neil McKenzie (42) set up South Africa’s dominant performance with an opening partnership of 102.
McKenzie admitted that batting conditions were tricky early in the day, with Bangladesh new ball bowlers Mashrafe Mortaza and Mahubul Alam testing the batsmen with swing and movement off a pitch which had some green patches.
“We weren’t surprised when they decided to send us in but we would have batted first if we had won the toss,” McKenzie said. “It wasn’t a pitch to drive on and they probably bowled a bit too short early on.”
When conditions eased the batsmen took almost total control. Smith and Amla lifted the tempo with an unbroken second wicket stand of 197 before bad light finally ended play one over after the second new ball was taken.
Both centurions survived chances. When Smith was on 83 he went down the wicket to left-arm spinner Shakib al Hasan.
The ball spun past the inside of his bat, but also went past wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim, who could not make the stumping.
He gave a sharp chance to Imrul Kayes at short leg off Mehrab Hossain, another left-arm spinner, when he had 118.
Amla was on 93 when he edged Mehrab Hossain to Mashrafe Mortaza at slip.
“I was quite happy with our bowling, although we could possibly have bowled at the stumps a bit more,” Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful said. “If we had held our chances it would have been better but they batted very well.”
Smith became South Africa’s leading run-scorer in a calendar year when he went past the 1,288 scored by Jacques Kallis in 2004. Smith had scored 1,317 runs in the year by close of play.
In only his second innings since recovering from a tennis elbow injury, Smith went to his 17th Test century — his third against Bangladesh — off 177 balls, hitting 13 fours.
Amla needed 149 balls for his sixth Test century, hitting 10 fours.
It was the 10th successive Test in which Smith and McKenzie posted at least one 50-run opening partnership. The previous record of eight was held by Roy Fredericks and Gordon Greenidge of the West Indies.
Ashraful said his decision to send South Africa in was influenced by the amount of grass on the pitch which could help the bowlers during the first two hours.
The pitch indeed proved lively early on but his bowlers could not make a breakthrough until McKenzie sliced a drive off Shahadat Hossain to backward point midway through the afternoon.
McKenzie played a typically cautious innings, facing 118 balls and hitting seven fours as he provided watchful support to Smith. When McKenzie was on 12 he became the 10th South African to score 3,000 Test runs.
Bangladesh handed a first Test cap to opening batsman Imrul Kayes, 21, while Mortaza was declared fit after struggling with a back injury.
DRIVING AMBITION: ‘I was excited by playing at the Olympics ... Who knows what’s going to happen? Hopefully, I could have a chance to win a medal,’ Tiffany Chan said After just three tournaments this year, a chance of Olympic glory postponed and two weeks alone in quarantine, golfer Tiffany Chan could be forgiven for feeling sorry for herself. Instead, Hong Kong’s first LPGA Tour player is sporting a broad grin and taking the positives from the game’s COVID-19 shutdown, determined to establish herself in the fiercely competitive world of women’s golf. The talented 26-year-old kept herself fit physically and mentally during the lockdown, and is happy to be back on the fairways since the easing of coronavirus restrictions last month. “When I came back to Hong Kong [in March], I actually did
Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown, who is hoping to become Britain’s youngest Olympian next year, fractured her skull and broke bones in her left hand after falling from a ramp during a training session in California. Brown posted a video of the accident on Instagram, but reassured supporters that she was fine. “I don’t usually post my falls or talk about them ... but this was my worst fall. I just want everyone to know that it’s OK — don’t worry, I’m OK,” she said. “I’m going to push boundaries for girls with my skating and surfing. I’m going for gold in 2021
It is the land of the world champions, but is it really a soccer country? That is the question that some in France have been asking this week while its European neighbors work to bring the sport back after the COVID-19 shutdown. Debate has raged ever since Ligue 1 decided in late April to bring a premature end to the season with 10 rounds of matches unplayed. By contrast, two weeks have passed since the Bundesliga restarted, while Italian Minister for Sport Vincenzo Spadafora on Thursday confirmed that Serie A would return on June 20, and La Liga and the English Premier
A feel-good campaign allowing fans to have cardboard cutouts of themselves at Australian rugby league games has been hijacked by pranksters, with a notorious serial killer among those making an appearance — while one TV show edited an image of Adolf Hitler into the crowd. The NRL launched “Fan In The Stand” to coincide with the sport’s return at the weekend after its season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Supporters are barred from stadiums under strict health protocols, but can pay A$22 (US$15) to have their photograph printed on a life-size cutout and placed in the stands of