South Africa vs Bangladesh: First Test Squads, Preview, and Predictions

Bangladesh tour South Africa as stark underdogs to play a total of seven match series across all formats. They start with the Test series as we analyse both sides.


Overview 

Bangladesh travel all the way to South Africa to play 2 Tests, 3 ODIs, and 2 T20Is. They begin by playing the Test series on Thursday. 

South Africa last played Test cricket against England, losing the series 3-1 after they struggled in English conditions. Bangladesh drew their series against the Aussies 1-1. 

Bangladesh have long been a side on the rise, playing quality cricket in the recent past. Beating South Africa away from home will be their biggest hurdle yet. Can the South Africans play spoilsport?

Squad

South Africa

Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Theunis de Bruyn, Quinton de Kock, Dean Elgar, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Duanne Olivier, Wayne Parnell, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada

Bangladesh

Mushfiqur Rahim (c), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Sabbir Rahman, Mahmudullah, Mominul Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Liton Das, Mustafizur Rahman, Taijul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Subashis Roy

Where the Teams Stand 

South Africa

Aiden Markram is set to open the batting with Dean Elgar for the first Test as a reward for his outstanding domestic performances. His last four domestic scores read 119, 87,134, 74. With Amla, De Kock, Du Plessis, Bavuma/de Bruyn to follow, the Proteas have a solid batting lineup. Still, one can only hope that Du Plessis doesn’t try to leave any deliveries.

Amla was in sublime form against Pakistan, but that was a T20. Regardless, a batsman of his stature is a great asset for any team. One thing Du Plessis must be a little cautious about is the batting order, mainly for the first three names after the openers depending on the start they get. This is something that hurt them against England, and they must not repeat the same mistakes. 

Injuries to Morris and Philander mean that South Africa may not have their best bowling attack on show against Bangladesh, but they still have some excellent options to contend with. Morkel, Rabada, Parnell, and Olivier are all options in the pace department, and Phehlukwayo and Maharaj are the two spinners in the squad. The four pacers and either spinner would be a formidable bowling attack, one Du Plessis would be happy to play with. 

Maharaj has been relatively consistent for the Proteas, but if the skipper needs an extra batsman lower down the order, Phehlukwayo is the viable option. Either way, they have a good attack and a great squad. 

Bangladesh

The visitors will sorely miss Shakib Al Hasan in this series. The all-rounder has been instrumental to the success of the Bangladeshis, and his absence on leave leaves a gaping hole in the side, given his contribution with both bat and ball. He was a big reason his side were able to beat Australia, and one would be justified in doubting whether the team will be nearly as competitive without him even though he is just one player in a team. 

The absence of Shakib puts the onus on the likes of Iqbal and Rahim to carry the team on their shoulders with the bat whereas Mustafizur Rahman will have the same role with the ball. Soumya Sarkar and Imrul Kayes were both significant disappointments in the last series, something the visitors cannot afford away from home. Kayes’ fifty in the practice match against the Cricket South Africa Invitational XI is an encouraging sign, and he will hope he can play as well during the real Test too. 

Bangladesh will rely heavily on their bowling amidst uncertain batting reliability to be competitive in the Test. They are up against a quality side who are playing at home, but the visitors have proved their doubters wrong again and again in the past few years. It will be an interesting contest if they can put in a team performance and challenge the Proteas, but that remains to be seen.

Prediction 

South Africa win.

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Abhay Almal

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Just another fan of the gentleman's game with a quill and some ink, Abhay is a high school graduate who has spent a decade playing cricket on district and higher levels of the sport. Combining his passion for writing and playing led to him pursuing sports journalism as he prepares to major in Psychology.

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