Set batsmen getting out has never been a pleasing development for a batting side, but the Proteas will still be reasonably happy with their situation on the first day of the second Test against Bangladesh as they reached tea on 199/3 at St George’s Park on Friday.
Having elected to bat first under overcast skies on a greenish pitch, it was certainly a solid top-order effort by South Africa with Dean Elgar (70), Sarel Erwee (24), Keegan Petersen (64) and Temba Bavuma (33*) all getting starts.
While Erwee would have been out on 4 had Bangladesh reviewed an lbw appeal by paceman Khaled Ahmed, who eventually had him caught behind, driving well outside off-stump 10 overs later, both Elgar and Pietersen never really looked like getting out as they added 81 for the second wicket.
But the introduction of left-arm spinner Taijul Islam, with Sri Lankan great Rangana Herath advising him on the boundary edge, removed them both after lunch and either side of a rain delay.
Elgar was looking in great touch and set for bigger things when he was deceived by Taijul’s impressive arm-ball, went back and feathered a thin edge to the wicketkeeper.
Half-an-hour later, heavy showers descended on St George’s Park with South Africa in 156/2. The delay only lasted for 26 minutes and Petersen and Bavuma went on to add 51 for the third wicket, although Bangladesh’s bowling, led by Taijul, did tighten up after the rain break.
Petersen had gone smoothly past his fourth half-century in his seventh Test and looked on the brink of really dominating the bowling, when he came down the pitch and missed a leg-side flick off Taijul. The lbw appeal was turned down, but Bangladesh this time reviewed and, surprisingly to many, DRS showed Petersen was out.
Bavuma took a while to acclimatise to the conditions, scoring 10 off his first 36 deliveries, but has looked solid in withstanding the Bangladesh attack, while Ryan Rickelton had reached 7* at tea.
Apart from bringing Taijul into the team, Bangladesh have also recalled seasoned opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, while South Africa are playing the same XI that won the first Test in Durban by 220 runs.