After a historic series result in the preceding ODIs, a depleted South Africa will take on a rejuvenated Bangladesh in a two-Test series.
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The first match will be played at the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban where the last result was an epic one-wicket win for Sri Lanka in 2019, paving their way to become the first Asian side to pocket a Test series win in South Africa.
The jitters in the home camp are obvious after the 2-1 ODI series loss ended with head coach Mark Boucher blasting his side’s “fear of failure”.
Test captain Dean Elgar has only three members from that losing squad, but the loss of IPL-bound players must enrage the skipper after he called the choice a “litmus test of loyalty” for the team members.
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Elgar will be without his first-choice pace attack of Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen who combined for 54 of the 60 wickets taken in their 2-1 home series win over India.
That leaves the 13-Test old Duanne Olivier as the leader of the pack, putting more pressure on the batters.
On that note, the absence of Rassie van der Dussen owing to the IPL means a probable debut for the consistent Khaya Zondo, who has averaged 52.40 (786 runs in 13 matches) over the last two seasons in the domestic four-day tournament.
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Bangladesh will show little sympathy to the hosts’ problems as they look to rewrite another chapter in their record books.
A winless head-to-head record (D2, L10) where they lost eight by an innings and one by 333 runs is going to spur them further to show the world that the Test win in New Zealand in January was by design and not by accident.
The first of those improvements will be in the batting department as the last series in 2017 saw Bangladesh fail to play out 90 overs in any of their four innings.
The visitors are, however, making their first trips to both Durban and Gqeberha (venue for the second Test) which could be a challenge in itself.
Test captain Mominul Haque sees it as making no difference to his plans as he feels that his pacers will once again lead the charge like in New Zealand.
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Dean Elgar needs 95 runs to become the third South African to score 500 Test runs vs Bangladesh. The left-hander has two centuries in his last three innings against them although he failed to cross 40 in his last six innings at this venue. His main tussle could be against Bangladesh’s Ebadot Hossain, who was the star of their series win in New Zealand with a ‘Player of the match’ performance in Mount Maunganui (1/75 & 6/46). His series average in New Zealand was also 29.33, which is ‘Bradmanesque’ compared to his pre-series career average of 81.54!
– The average first innings score at this venue over the last eight Tests is 297, with only one score above 350.
– South Africa have lost their last nine home tosses going on to bowl first in the most recent eight.
SOUTH AFRICA AND BANGLADESH SQUADS:
Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma, Daryn Dupavillon, Sarel Erwee, Simon Harmer, Keshav Maharaj, Wiaan Mulder, Duanne Olivier, Keegan Petersen, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Kyle Verreynne (wkt), Lizaad Williams, Khaya Zondo
Mominul Haque (captain), Abu Jayed, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Litton Das (wkt), Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Mehidy Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Nurul Hasan, Shadman Ismail, Shohidul Islam, Shoriful Islam, Taijul Islam, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed, Yasir Ali
Umpires: Marais Erasmus, Adrian Holdstock (both RSA)
TV umpire: Allahudien Paleker (RSA)
Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)
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