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Stars in IPL, spin duo good enough for South Africa

Keshav Maharaj took 7/32 and fellow-spinner Simon Harmer 3/21 to complete a dominant performance versus Bangladesh

Agencies Durban Published 05.04.22, 02:10 AM
Keshav Maharaj (right) of South Africa celebrates with teammates after dismissing Yasir Ali of Bangladesh at Kingsmead, Durban, on Monday.

Keshav Maharaj (right) of South Africa celebrates with teammates after dismissing Yasir Ali of Bangladesh at Kingsmead, Durban, on Monday. Getty Images

Left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took seven wickets as South Africa bowled Bangladesh out for 53 in 19 overs in their second innings to claim a 220-run victory in the first Test at Kingsmead on Monday.

It was the lowest Test innings total at Kingsmead, less than the 66 India managed in 1996. Bangladesh had been set a target of 274 for the win but resumed on 11 for three and were bowled out inside 55 minutes.

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Maharaj took 7/32 and fellow-spinner Simon Harmer 3/21 to complete a dominant performance for the home side, who were missing five first team regulars who have opted to play in the Indian Premier League, including their entire frontline pace attack.

Maharaj 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,” Maharaj said at the post-match presentation.

“As cricketers, sometimes we are impatient people. I think when you bowl long spells you want to get rewards and it’s just about sticking to the processes. The hard work and toil from the first innings paid dividends in the second.”

“It is pretty special,” South Africa captain Dean Elgar said. “It was hard graft in conditions we are not used to and was a challenge for a young bowling unit.”

He had particular praise for the spin duo, who took 14 wickets between them. “They are extremely skilled and developed in their game. They are pushing each other in the nets and it’s great to see how they operate.”

South Africa’s lack of bowling options had in part forced them to play two spinners at a venue that has traditionally been known to favour the seamers.

Maharaj’s effort was all the more impressive after he bowled with a finger injury on the fourth and fifth days, but the guile and accuracy with which he and Harmer attacked the Bangladeshis was impressively relentless.

He trapped Mushfiqur Rahim (0) leg before wicket in the opening over of the day and from then on it was a procession of batsmen back to the pavilion. He had the dangerous Liton Das (2) caught by Harmer at mid-on, and then bowled Yasir Ali (5) with a delivery that pitched on middle stump and hit off.

Harmer removed Mehidy Hasan Miraz (0) and Najmul Hossain Shanto (26) before Maharaj claimed the final two wickets.

Brief scores: South Africa 367 & 204. Bangladesh 298 & 53 (K. Maharaj 7/32, S. Harmer 3/21). South Africa won by 220 runs.

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