So with most of the cricketing world focused on The Ashes and Lord’s this weekend, it’s a good reminder that there is another pretty intriguing tour going on between Bangladesh and South Africa. The visitors made easy work of Bangladesh in the opening two T20 series matches, winning by 52 and 31 runs respectively. Three ODIs followed and South Africa got off to a red hot start in the first match when debutant Kagiso Rabada took 6 wickets in 8 overs including a hat-trick. Yet as quickly as South Africa started the series, they fell back to earth with similar speed. Bangladesh took the next two matches and the ODI series with impressive skill and win margins of 7 and 9 wickets.
And so here we are on the eve of the first of two Tests. It is going to be a different Protea side than the one that has been playing on the tour so far, with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Morne Morkel joining their teammates in Chittagong. It will certainly be interesting to see how those three do having been on a decent break from all forms of cricket for a couple months.
Given that South Africa have been sluggish thus far on the tour, Bangladesh will be confident that their spinners can grab some wickets and put up a good fight against the number one Test team. The hosts are certainly hitting their form and proving to be a challenge for teams in the ODI format. It would be great for not only Bangladesh and their rabid home fans, but cricket as a whole if their good ODI form can transfer over to sustained success in Test matches. The opportunity to prove themselves has arrived with bigger challenge than the Proteas. With a break in the Ashes tomorrow, this should hold over any fan before Australia and England meet again at Edgbaston.
As for a prediction, it seems impossible to bet against the Proteas in this one. They have the depth and the bowling attack to get wickets, but they’ll need better partnerships than they had in the tour’s earlier ODIs. Although a draw in the first Test would not be a shocker to anyone who has watched the impressive Bangladesh side develop over the last 9 months.