Bangladesh bowled out for 53 in first Test defeat against South Africa

Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj picks up seven wickets to seal 220-run victory, while tourists bemoan umpiring decisions in Durban

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Bangladesh crashed to 53 all out on the fifth day of the first Test against South Africa in Durban after spinner Keshav Maharaj picked up seven wickets to seal a 220-run win at Kingsmead on Monday.

Maharaj took 7-32 and off-spinner Simon Harmer 3-21 as Bangladesh were bowled out for their lowest total against South Africa, falling well short of the 274 needed for victory.

Resuming at 11-3, Bangladesh lost their remaining seven wickets for 42 runs in less than an hour.

Mushfiqur Rahim was dismissed in the first over of the day, leg before wicket to Maharaj when he played down the wrong line.

Liton Das fell to a soft dismissal in Maharaj's next over, gifting a simple catch to Harmer at mid-on. Maharaj made it three wickets in three overs when he bowled Yasir Ali past the edge.

The rest of the batting crumbled with only Najmul Hossain putting up any resistance, scoring 26 off 52 balls - one of only two players to reach double figures in the innings.

It was a dramatic turn of events for the Tigers after they had complained about “inconsistent” decisions and asked for the return of neutral umpires in international cricket.

Umpires from host countries have been used since 2020 due to pandemic enforced travel restrictions.

South African umpires Marais Erasmus and Adrian Holdstock were standing in the Durban Test, where Bangladesh saw a few close calls go against them.

Opener Dean Elgar was given not out on the field by Erasmus in the fifth over after being hit on his back leg, with technology showed the ball clipping the stumps. He survived on “umpire's call".

Soon after, Bangladesh overturned Holdstock's not out lbw decision against Sarel Erwee which was shown to be plumb.

Seven overs later Khaled Ahmed was denied an lbw against Keegan Petersen. Bangladesh did not review but replays showed it would have been given out on referral.

“A few decisions went against us, which if they had come our way, we would have probably been chasing 180 runs instead of 270,” Bangladesh team director Khaled Mahmud had said.

“We of course respect umpires. But to be frank, I saw such inconsistent umpiring after many days.

“Now the whole world has opened up, hopefully the ICC will consider giving neutral umpires.”

It was a memorable victory for the Proteas, missing five first team regulars who have opted to play in the Indian Premier League, including their entire front-line pace attack of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen.

In their absence, spinner Maharaj carried the bowling burden. He became South Africa’s most successful spinner since the country’s readmission to the international arena in 1991, moving past Paul Adams’s previous best mark of 134 Test wickets to take his tally to 141.

"I'm actually quite emotional. I'm just glad I could take the team over the line today," Maharaj said.

"As cricketers, sometimes we are impatient people. I think when you bowl long spells you want to get reward and it's just about sticking to the processes.

"The hard work and toil from the first innings paid dividends in the second."

However, captain Elgar said he still preferred fast bowlers to dictate proceedings in home conditions.

Elgar praised "the pure skill level and intensity and consistency" of the two spinners, who took a combined 14 wickets in the match.

But he added: "It's not the style of cricket we're used to, or that we want to play. I think it shows a lot of character ... that we have the resources to adapt.

"We still want to play the conditions where you play three seamers, an all-rounder and a spinner. Fast bowling is our prime source of attack."

Elgar, however, admitted south Africa's batting in the second innings, when they were bowled out for 204, lacked intensity.

"Test cricket demands intensity whether you've got bat in hand or ball in hand. Maybe it was the inexperience of players not quite familiar with that role. Now the guys have experienced a taste of Test cricket and what it demands."

The second Test begins in Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, on Thursday.

Updated: April 04, 2022, 11:32 AM