SA ready to unleash attack

2011-04-13 00:00

THE curtain comes down on the cricket season in the KZN capital in a fitting way when South Africa A meet Bangladesh A at the Maritzburg Oval from today to Saturday.

This is the second and last four-day match between the two teams before they go into five unofficial one-day internationals to be played over a fortnight, starting in East London next Thursday.

The first four-dayer, which ended on Saturday in Potchefstroom, lasted just three days as captain Jacques Rudolph’s South Africans won by a massive 272 runs.

Man of the match Stiaan van Zyl (48 and 101 not out), Justin Ontong (93), wicketkeeper/batsman Heino Khun (36 not out and a quick-fire 83) and fast bowler Craig Alexander (match figures of eight for 54) had outings to remember, while Nadif Chowdhury’s unbeaten 70 stood out in a match of modest returns for the tourists.

Yet in captain Mohammad Ashraful, Bangladesh have a veteran of 55 Test matches during which he scored five centuries, so it might be fair to say that the Asians underperformed at Senwes Park.

Then again, the likely four-pronged pace attack under Rudolph’s command is almost certain to find the PMB Oval pitch to their liking and Ethy Mbhalati, Quinton Friend, Andrew Birch and Alexander will be anticipating a rich harvest of cheap wickets.

Apart from the landslide victory in Potch, Rudolph has other fond memories of his encounters with Bangladesh.

Just a fortnight short of eight years ago, the elegant left-hander who turns 30 next month compiled an unbeaten 222 on Test debut in Chittagong. His classic cover drive could be employed to maximum effect during the next four days.

Dean Elgar, Andrew Puttick and Farhaan Behardien will also fancy their chances of cashing in against a Bangladesh attack that conceded over 600 runs at close on four to the over in Potch.

The predicted cloudy weather with afternoon thunderstorms may put a damper on proceedings. That said, every cricket fan, young and old, would do well to steal away from their commitments for a couple of hours here and there to watch what has become scarce international cricket in the KZN capital.

Senwes Park in Potchefstroom is a beautiful cricket ground. Bangladesh have a second opportunity to savour the pleasure of playing at another South African masterpiece.

Watching cricket “live” at the PMB Oval beats the goggle box variety any day. Play starts at 10 am and entrance is free.

TEAMS

South Africa A (possible): Dean Elgar, Andrew Puttick, Jacques Rudolph (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Stiaan van Zyl, Justin Ontong, Heino Kuhn, Andrew Birch, Quinton Friend, Craig Alexander, Ethy Mbhalati.

Bangladesh A (possible): Nazimuddin, Shamsur Rahman, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful (capt), Mehrab Hossain, Nadif Chowdhury, Saghir Hossain, Nasir Hossain, Syed Rasel, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Robiul Islam.

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