Bowling struggles a real concern for Proteas

2008-02-20 00:00

FATULLAH (Bangladesh) — If the South African cricketers thought they were in for an easy ride in Bangladesh, they will now be having second thoughts.

The Proteas were given a tough three days by a limited Bangladesh Cricket Board XI at the Narayanganj Osmani Stadium, Fatullah, before the match was drawn yesterday.

Chasing the South Africans first innings of 397, the Board XI scored at over four an over in reaching 412 for nine declared.

South Africa were 47 without loss when the game was abandoned.

Only 47 overs of play took place on the third day and Shakib Al Hasan’s aggreesive 73 was the lone highlight, taking the BCB XI to a 15-run lead. Shakib hit 14 boundaries in his knock, and scored his last 23 runs off just 12 balls.

Graeme Smith’s strike bowlers had no real impact, and this is worrying the tour coaching staff with the first Test just two days away.

The only encouraging form was shown by off-spinner Johan Botha, who finished with four wickets, including that of Shakib.

South Africa batted for nine overs before the close and Smith hit a rapid 32.

Andre Nel, who has been troubled by a hamstring strain, saw his first piece of action yesterday, bowling eight overs without reward.

The first Test starts in Mirpur, Bangladesh, on Friday.

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