None barring Mushfiqur Rahim showed any real application © AFP
None barring Mushfiqur Rahim showed any real application © AFP

Bangladesh finished at 246 for 8 at the end of the Day One of the second Test against South Africa. It was a day that witnessed several ups and downs for both teams, with the visitors restricting the hosts from getting away with a big total after a promising start. Amit Banerjee explains why the Bangladesh top and middle-order need to regroup and fire in the second innings if they are to keep their hopes of beating South Africa for the first time in Test cricket alive. READ: Bangladesh reach 246/8 vs South Africa at stumps on Day 1 of 2nd Test at Dhaka

The Bangladesh cricket team has been climbing one peak after another in the last few months. After qualifying for a World Cup knockout match for the first time, they whitewashed Pakistan 3-0 in a One-Day International (ODI) series for the first time. Not long after, they managed to vanquish neighbours India, as well as the No. 1 ranked Test team South Africa 2-1 in consecutive three-match ODI series. The ‘Tigers,’ as they are popularly known, even got the better of the Proteas in the first match of the two-Test series before rain got the better of their efforts. READ: Dale Steyn — The most complete fast bowler of this generation

The second Test, which is currently underway at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka, has been a story completely different from the first one. While the top-order got their side off to a decent start, the middle-order failed them and left their side struggling at the end of the day. Electing to bat on a track that looked promising for the batsmen, skipper Mushfiqur Rahim would have hoped for his side to make the most of good batting conditions. READ: Vernon Philander’s contribution vital for Proteas

Mushfiqur did a fine job himself by scoring 65 runs, justifying his team’s faith in his ability to pull them out of trouble. Mominul Haque too defied the likes of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, and Vernon Philander to earn plenty of runs off Simon Harmer. Mominul’s knock helped rescue Bangladesh from the early dismissal of Tamim Iqbal (6) that fetched Dale Steyn his 400th Test wicket, forming a 69-run partnership for the second wicket with Imrul Kayes (30). Mushfiqur, on the other hand, added 94 runs for the third wicket with Mahmudullah (35) to rescue the hosts after a sudden burst from JP Duminy, who took a couple of quick wickets to push Bangladesh onto the back foot. READ: Bangladesh’s decision to axe Soumya Sarkar for 1st Test vs South Africa a huge blunder

A score of 180 for 3 would have been a pleasant sight for the hosts, especially with Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah set at the crease, and another 300-plus score looking very much a possibility for them. A rash flick off a Steyn delivery saw Mahmudullah get caught by Temba Bavuma at short-midwicket. Bangladesh were delivered their biggest blow when Mushfiqur was dismissed for 65 off the bowling of Dean Elgar, getting a slight edge to the wicketkeeper while attempting to defend. SCORECARD: Bangladesh vs South Africa, 2nd Test at Dhaka, Day 1

At 215 for 5, Bangladesh fans would have hoped for Shakib Al Hasan and Litton Das to preserve their wickets till the close of play for their team’s sake. Sadly for Bangladesh, things shaped out differently. Litton was dismissed rather cheaply, getting an outside edge off an attempted sweep, while Shakib was done in by the pace and bounce of Morkel. Last, but not the least, Mohammad Shahid played a completely unnecessary shot to get bowled by Steyn to leave Bangladesh on the verge of getting shot out.

One has to give the South African pacers credit where it’s due, especially the way Morkel deceived Shakib with the unplayable rising delivery that got the edge off Shakib’s bat. Both Steyn and Morkel troubled the Bangladeshi batsmen in patches with some reverse swing. Given Bangladesh’s recent performances however, one could have expected the hosts to bat more sensibly. Tamim attempted an irresponsible drive off a wide-pitched delivery. Litton Das’ terrible shot-selection, at a time when Bangladesh were in a state of danger, was unforgivable. Let us not forget Shahid’s choice to smash towards off during the closing stages of the day. ALSO READ: Dale Steyn takes his 400th Test wicket

While the Bangladesh bowling attack have a crucial role to play during the South African innings, the batsmen, barring Mushfiqur, need to step up their game in the second innings if they are to maintain their hopes of winning their first-ever Test against South Africa.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)