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Maharaj spins South Africa to series victory over Bangladesh

By Tom Patey

Port Elizabeth, April 11: Keshav Maharaj claimed another seven-wicket haul as he ripped through Bangladesh to propel South Africa to a 332-run victory and 2-0 Test series win at St George's Park.

Left-arm spinner Maharaj bamboozled the Tigers to dismiss them for just 53 in the opener, picking up 7-32, and he repeated the trick in Port Elizabeth with figures of 7-40 in the second innings.

Simon Harmer (3-34) again provided capable support as the Proteas utilised just the two spinners to secure the series in 23.3 overs and move to second in the World Test Championship table.

The spin pair left Bangladesh reeling at 27-3 overnight and picked up where they left off on Monday but not before there was an international cricketing first.

Khaya Zondo, who made his Test debut, and Glenton Stuurman replaced Sarel Erwee and Wiaan Mulder as COVID-19 substitutes – a first instance of the protocol being used in international cricket.

Once play started with the substitute duo on the field, Maharaj soon had both Mominul Haque (five) and Mushfiqur Rahim (one) caught.

Yasir Ali fell to a similar Harmer trap as he holed out to deep midwicket for nought, before Kyle Verreyne stumped top scorer Litton Das (27) to complete Maharaj's five-for.

Verreyne and Maharaj combined again to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 20, caught behind on review, and the left-armer pinned Khaled Ahmed in front without scoring shortly after.

Harmer then trapped Taijul Islam for a duck three balls later to wrap up victory within an hour on the morning session of day four.

Magical Maharaj

Maharaj raced to a quickfire 84 in the first innings to go along with his two dismissals, but again the 32-year-old came alive in the second innings as he reached 150 dismissals in Test cricket.

He toyed with the Bangladesh batters' minds, uncertain whether the ball would spin or go straight on, as he collected another seven-wicket haul to take him to a series-leading 16 wickets overall.

Fierce Proteas tame Tigers

Bangladesh may not have collapsed for just 53 this time, but it was hardly better as the Tigers looked stunned by Maharaj and Harmer and they have now not beaten the Proteas in 14 red-ball attempts.

Meanwhile, South Africa have won five of their last six Tests, including their last three in a row for the first time since a three-game span between December 2018 to January 2019.

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Story first published: Monday, April 11, 2022, 16:20 [IST]
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