South Africa seek work-out from Bangladesh Test

Published: Monday, November 17, 2008, 20:26 [IST]
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Bloemfontein: South Africa will be seeking convincing wins in their two-Test series against Bangladesh starting at Springbok Park on Wednesday - but they don't want them to be too easy.

While coach Mickey Arthur is at pains to stress that he doesn't mean any disrespect to Bangladesh, who he says are "a decent side", he wants his players to be made to work reasonably hard against the side ranked last among the Test nations.

Arthur makes no secret of the fact that the major objective for South Africa is to end a long losing streak against Australia, who the Proteas will meet in Australia and at home later in the season.

South Africa have won all six of their previous Test matches against Bangladesh, five of them by an innings.

When Bangladesh last toured South Africa in 2002/03, one Test was won inside three days and the other before lunch on the fourth day. On the current tour, South Africa gained big wins in two One-Day Internationals, with rain preventing play in a third.

South Africa, with a potent pace attack led by the International Cricket Council Test cricketer of the year Dale Steyn, will start hot favourites.

But Arthur wants the pitches for the Tests to be good enough for the bowlers to have to work for any success. "I would like them to be similar to what we can expect in Australia, with a but of pace and bounce.

It would be pointless if the bowlers just ran in on green seamers' tracks and knocked them over," he said.

Whatever the conditions, South Africa's bowlers will be their trump card against a Bangladesh side whose batsmen are notoriously lacking in patience, despite the entreaties of their Australian coach, Jamie Siddons.

Steyn will be backed up by the experienced Makhaya Ntini and the tall, fast bowler Morne Morkel.

South Africa have a settled batting order and Arthur is hoping the batsmen will make some big scores to give them confidence against Australia.

The two Tests against Bangladesh and a two-day match against Western Australia are the only matches the South Africans will have before the first Test in Perth starting December 17.

Mashrafe Mortaza, Bangladesh's leading fast bowler, missed his team's two-day warm-up against a South African amateur team in Kimberley at the weekend because of a back injury.

But team spokesman Rabeed Imam said it was expected that Mortaza would be fit for the Test.

"He will train with the team on Tuesday and a decision will be made then," he said.

Imam said slow left-arm bowler Abdur Razzak would not be considered after flying to Australia for an independent analysis of his bowling action after being reported for a suspect action during Bangladesh's recent series against New Zealand.

"He will only be arriving in Bloemfontein on Tuesday evening and he will be jet-lagged," said Imam. "We will save him for the second Test in Centurion."

Left-arm pace bowler Sajedul Islam, who is replacing the injured Syed Rasel, was expected to join the team in Bloemfontein Monday and will train Tuesday.


South Africa: Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jacques Kallis, Ashwell Prince, AB de Villiers, Mark Boucher, Paul Harris, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.

Bangladesh: Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Junaid Siddique, Shakib Al Hasan, Mehrab Hossain jnr, Naeem Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim, Raqibul Hasan, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Sajedul Islam, Nazmul Hossain, Mahbubul Alam.



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