Early finish follows farcical late start as South Africa edge day one against Bangladesh

By Sports Desk March 31, 2022

Dean Elgar and Temba Bavuma made half-centuries as a depleted South Africa made a promising start against Bangladesh in the first Test at Kingsmead.

With a number of star players away at the IPL, the home side are significantly weakened for this two-Test series, but captain Elgar remains committed to the Proteas cause.

He top-scored with 67 in a team total of 233-4, before fading light brought play to an early close, after the start was delayed in farcical circumstances due to a malfunctioning electronic sightscreen.

Elgar's runs came in a first-wicket stand of 113 with Sarel Erwee, who made a useful 41 and soon followed his skipper back to the dressing room.

Khaled Ahmed had Elgar caught behind off the glove by wicketkeeper Liton Das, when the paceman's delivery to the left-hander climbed sharply off the pitch, before Erwee edged spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz into his stumps.

Mehidy struck again when he produced a sensational piece of fielding to run out Keegan Petersen for 19, scrambling to make a fine stop at point before throwing down the stumps at the batsman's end.

Ryan Rickelton pulled Ebadot Hossain to Mominul Haque at mid-on to fall for 21, before Bavuma and Kyle Verreynne saw the home side through to the close with no further damage done.

Bavuma ended the day on 53 not out, with Verreynne unbeaten on 27 in a 53-run partnership.

The umpires pulled the plug on the day's proceedings after 76.5 overs, having perhaps wished they could have done the same thing to a sightscreen at the beginning of play, as it failed to turn to white.

Groundstaff scrambled to cover the screen with white sheets to allow play to get under way, but the action was delayed and did not commence until over 30 minutes past the scheduled start.

Cricket South Africa later apologised, citing a "technical glitch" as the problem.

Plenty to prove for Proteas

The real challenge for South Africa is likely to come with the ball. They are on course to put together a decent total and will hope their attack can back that up, but they are without the likes of Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada.

A largely second-string attack will see this as a chance to shine and earn future selection, but Bangladesh will sense an opportunity themselves, and after beating New Zealand recently in a Test for the first time, they might sense a chance to put the hosts under pressure.

South Africa may be unbeaten in 12 Tests against Bangladesh (W10, D2), but they lost the recent ODI series between the sides and their recent Kingsmead record against all-comers is poor in the five-day game, with just one win in their last nine.

Bavuma marks 50 with fifty

This is Bavuma's 50th Test match, and he marked it with an 18th half-century.

The 31-year-old only has one Test century to his name, and that came six years ago in Cape Town against England, so it would be right to be cautious about his prospects of reaching three figures here, but it looks a fair opportunity.

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