TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
THE prospect of Dale Steyn taking his 400th wicket on Saturday is the only point of interest remaining for South Africans in the first test against Bangladesh in Chittagong. But they might have to hold even that happy thought.
Friday’s play was washed out without a ball bowled, leaving SA on 61/0 in their second innings – 17 runs behind in a match that now seems set for stalemate.
Pity. Had the visitors forged ahead significantly yesterday an intriguing contest would have been on the cards; likewise if the Bangladeshis had whittled away at the wickets like they did in SA’s shaky first innings of 248.
But there is only one winner when cricket takes on the monsoon, and it’s not the game. So hostilities are likely to resume in earnest when the second test starts in Dhaka on Thursday.
Steyn, who looked rusty in his early spells, found his feet and with them his line and length as Thursday’s play wore on. His reward were figures of 3/78.
Having gone into the match with 396 wickets, that means Steyn is one strike away from becoming the only South African besides Shaun Pollock to claim 400 test scalps.
However, that may be beyond even the finest fast bowler of the age on Saturday, what with a 100% chance of rain forecast for Chittagong.
Stiaan van Zyl and Dean Elgar would also like to get back into the middle. They are 33 and 28 not out and batting much more fluently than in the first innings.
Saturday’s play, if it happens, will be about preparing for the second test. The first, barring events even more miraculous that those that saw Bangladesh win the one-day series, is dead on its feet.