19 November 2008
Centuries from South Africa skipper Graeme Smith and one-down batsman Hashim Amla put the hosts in a very strong position at the end of the first day of the first Test match at OUTsurance Oval in Bloemfontein today. An unbeaten 197 run partnership between the pair propelled South Africa to 299 for 1 before bad light stopped play.
Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful won the toss and opted to bowl first on a greenish surface of OUTsurance Oval, but the bowlers failed to take advantage of the condition and South Africa slowly gained the momentum on route to a mammoth first innings total. Bangladesh bowlers managed to keep the opening pair quiet until lunch with some tidy line and length bowling. After lunch the hosts accelerated through skipper Smith and negotiated Bangladesh attack with ease. The tourists only managed to remove Neil McKenzie on 42 when he scooped a half volley from Shahadat Hossain to Mehrab Hossain at point.
However, both Smith and Amla were given reprieves by the tourists before they reached their respective hundreds. Wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim missed a straightforward stumping chance with Smith on 87 while Mashrafe Mortaza spilled a regulation slip catch of Amla to deny Mehrab Jr. his second Test scalp.
Bangladesh will resume tomorrow with the prospect of another long day on the field and they must find a way to break the South African defense to have any chance in the match.