Harmer: A lot of cricket left

2015-07-23 16:35
Simon Harmer (Gallo Images)

Chittagong - Proteas off-spinner Simon Harmer likes what is becoming of the wicket in the ongoing Test against Bangladesh.

South Africa reached 61 without loss on the third day of the first Test after Bangladesh racked up its highest score against them on Thursday.

The hosts finished on 326 in its first innings to move 78 runs clear but the Proteas openers cut short the deficit in a steely resolve.

Stiaan Van Zyl was batting on 33 with Dean Elgar on 27 before the rain forced a premature end to the day.

"Dean (Elgar) and Stiaan (Van Zyl) did a good job today evening to go unscathed in that last session especially with the bad light and the rain around," said Harmer.

"I think the first session is going to be our target tomorrow."

"It's been nice to see how much the wicket has deteriorated as a spinner. And I think we can't look too far ahead in terms of target and stuff like that because there is still a lot of cricket left to be played in this game."

Resuming the day 179-4, the hosts earlier rode on three half-centuries to gain the first innings advantage.

Mahmudullah scored the highest 67. Tamim Iqbal made 57 while Liton Das brought up his maiden test fifty. It was the first time instance of three Bangladeshi making fifty plus against South Africa in test cricket.

"The advantage is that they still couldn't surpass our lead so if we bowl in planned way, we could dominate them," Liton Das said.

"It could have been good if we had taken few wickets today. That didn't happen but still we are ahead of them. The wicket is tough to bat on. We have to bowl wicket to wicket because there is assistance for the bowlers."

Bangladesh lost its captain Mushfiqur Rahim on 28 in the fifth over of the morning session. The initial lbw appeal by Dale Steyn was turned down but South Africa made a successful video review.

Shakib Al Hasan and Das shared 82-run partnership then to ensure the hosts led South Africa in the first innings for only the second time in their nine-test history.

They were solid and methodical in their approach while Steyn swung the ball both ways but got little from a pitch offering scant assistance to the bowlers.

Just when it seemed Bangladesh would dominate the visitors, Shakib threw away his wicket by attempting a pull off offspinner Simon Harmer (3-105) to get a top-edge. JP Duminy completed a simple catch at short mid-wicket.

In his patient 47 off 114 balls, he hit four boundaries.

Trailing by 29 runs, Shakib's dismissal raised South Africa's hope of restricting Bangladesh to a limited lead.

Mohammad Shahid however plundered the bowlers to score a quick 25 runs and extended the lead with South African bowlers making regular inroads.

Liton remained calm but Harmer's sharp off-break broke his stubborn resistance after he reached his maiden fifty in which he sent the ball seven times across the boundary rope.

Fast bowler Dale Steyn (3-78) then cleaned up the tail with a barrage of short balls and closed in on 400-wicket club.

Read more on:    proteas  |  simon harmer  |  cricket

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