South Africa’s fast-bowling resources are likely to be tested in the second Test against Bangladesh, starting at Mangaung Oval in Bloemfontein on Friday (October 6), suggested Faf du Plessis on the eve of the game.
Kagiso Rabada, at 22, has become the leader of the pace attack following an injury to Morne Morkel during South Africa’s 333-run win in the first Test in Potchefstroom. Morkel’s absence added to the long list that already had Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Chris Morris.
In the absence of Morkel, du Plessis hinted strongly that South Africa might pack their pace attack, possibly bringing in uncapped Dane Paterson as well as Wayne Parnell in order to have four front-line seam bowlers.
The South African captain said he expected pitch conditions to give more encouragement to bowlers than in Potchefstroom. “There’s not as much grass as there was a couple of days ago and it’s thin grass, but it hasn’t been rolled as flat as Potch. Just playing in the nets and out there in the middle there was a little more pace and bounce,” he said.
Looking ahead to the future of South Africa’s attack, du Plessis said age was a factor, with Steyn, Philander and Morkel all on the wrong side of 30.
He said the bowlers would have to work “a little harder” in order to extend their careers, admitting that at 33, “I need a 40-minute stretch before I can do anything.”
In the meantime, there were opportunities for the fast bowlers in action in Bloemfontein to stake their claim for future selection.
“With big players missing, it is really important to see what our resources are,” said du Plessis, who added that he was looking for “another dominating performance” to complete the two-match series.
Mushfiqur Rahim did not hold a formal press conference but told Bangladesh journalists that Soumya Sarkar, who missed the first Test because of a shoulder injury, was fit and was likely to replace the injured Tamim Iqbal.
Rahim said there was a possibility that there might be one or more changes to Bangladesh’s pace line-up.
“This is more of a South African wicket,” said Rahim, whose decision to field upon winning the toss in Bloemfontein was widely criticised. “It was more like our type of wicket in the previous game but we couldn’t execute well. But it doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t play well in tough conditions. We lost badly in the first Test because we made silly mistakes.”