Since Bangladesh have landed on their shores, everything has gone South Africa’s way. They won both Tests by massive margins, and have already taken a winning 2-0 lead in the One-Day International series. The home team will fancy their chances of an ODI sweep too, when the two sides meet for the third and final match on Sunday (October 22) at Buffalo Park.
South Africa won the first Test by 333 runs, and the second by an innings and 254 runs. Bangladesh got a competitive 278 for 7 in the first ODI, only to see Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla put on 282 runs for the opening wicket. In the second match, the returning AB de Villiers showed no rustiness at all in blasting a career-best 176, off a mere 104 balls. South Africa ran out victors by 104 runs.
South Africa will be without the rested Hashim Amla for the last ODI, and while that will come as some relief to Bangladesh’s bowlers – Amla has plundered 492 runs in two Tests and two ODIs so far – the rest of South Africa’s line-up aren’t the kind that can be shrugged off lightly, particularly with de Villiers back to his inventive best. Aiden Markram, who made a very successful Test debut on this tour, will replace Amla. Meanwhile, David Miller will undergo a late fitness test on Sunday morning to determine his availability for the match.
“Hashim has been officially rested so there is a spot up for grabs,” said JP Duminy. “In terms of the other selections, I’m not quite sure who is going to come in or who is going to be rested. It opens up a few opportunities for guys to get chances so we will have to wait and see what the selectors do.”
Bangladesh aren’t without their own missing players. Tamim Iqbal is nursing a thigh injury while Mustafizur Rahman is battling an ankle injury, leaving the team thin at the top in both batting and bowling.
Mustafizur’s absence is likely to hurt the visiting side more. Bangladesh’s batting has been steady to adequate, but the bowling has lacked teeth. Both Mashrafe Mortaza, the skipper, and Taskin Ahmed have been expensive in the last two games. Shafiul Islam, the medium pacer, has been called in as cover for Mustafizur, and could replace Taskin in the playing XI. On the batting front, Liton Das’s failures might mean he makes way for Soumya Sarkar at the top of the order.
South Africa are also likely to have more than the forced change to their XI. Faf du Plessis, the captain, had spoken of giving the fringe players a shot. Markram is set to debut, slotting in for Amla, and it remains to be seen if Willem Mulder, the 19-year old allrounder, will get a game.
South Africa’s bowling, led by Kagiso Rabada, has managed to keep Bangladesh quiet. Andile Phehlukwayo, the medium pacer, and Imran Tahir, the legspinner, have kept the visitors guessing with their subtle variations.
On paper, and on form, South Africa are the overwhelming favourites, after a series of one-sided wins so far. Much will depend on how well Bangladesh can shake themselves out of the losing rut.
South Africa: Aiden Markram, Quinton de Kock (wk), Faf du Plessis (capt), AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Farhaan Behardien, Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo, Kagiso Rabada, Dane Paterson, Imran Tahir, Temba Bavuma, David Miller, Willem Mulder.
Bangladesh: Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Sabbir Rahman, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza (capt), Taskin Ahmed, Rubel Hossain, Mominul Haque, Shafiul Islam, Soumya Sarkar, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mehidi Hasan.