Port Elizabeth: South Africa are on the verge of completing a clean sweep against Bangladesh in the two-Test series, reducing the Mominul Haque-led visitors to 27/3 in the second innings at stumps on Day 3 at the St George's Park here.
Bangladesh still need 386 runs for a win, which looks unlikely, given that their entire top order, including Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy and Najmul Hossain Shanto, was back in the dressing room in just 9.1 overs of Bangladesh's second innings late on Sunday (IST).
Earlier in the day, after bowling out Bangladesh for 217 in the first innings, the Proteas batters scored quickly to set a target of 413 and the spinners struck in the tricky period of play to put the visitors on the back-foot at stumps on Day 3.
After a delayed start, Mushfiqur Rahim with Yasir Ali kept the score ticking, mounting resistance in the first session. Yasir got the momentum in the tourists' favour with three consecutive boundaries in the first three balls of the day off Lizaad Williams' bowling. The two remained firm on the crease in the first hour, negotiating probing spells from Wiaan Mulder and Duanne Olivier. However, spinner Keshav Maharaj's introduction worked wonders for South Africa.
The hosts deployed an aggressive field to support Maharaj who was finding turn and bounce, forcing a false shot from Yasir after their partnership crossed the 70-run mark. Maharaj gave the ball flight, flummoxing Yasir in the air and the leading edge was easily caught by the bowler which meant that Yasir walked back just four runs short of what would have been his second Test fifty.
In the penultimate over of the first session, the hosts snared another important wicket, this time that of Rahim who fell immediately after scoring his 25th Test fifty. After the second session resumed, it took South Africa just 3.2 overs to remove the tail-enders. Simon Harmer picked the wickets of Taijul Islam (5) and Ebadot Hossain (0), while Maharaj dismissed Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 11 runs.
South Africa bowled the visitors for a mere 217, giving themselves a 236-run lead before walking out to bat in the second innings. The Proteas' opening pair of skipper Dean Elgar and Sarel Erwee did not take much time to get going, finding boundaries regularly.
The partnership propelled the Proteas' total beyond the fifty-run mark in as many deliveries before Elgar (26) lost his wicket bowled attempting to reverse-sweep Taijul. Keegan Petersen started positively but lost his wicket on the stroke of tea, trapped in front of the stumps by Taijul.
Bangladesh struck again on the other side of the break, with Erwee falling nine runs short of a half-century. The 29-run stand between Temba Bavuma and Ryan Rickelton steadied the ship before Taijul picked his third wicket to remove the latter for 12. While Bavuma was solid at one end, Kyle Verreynne took the attack to the Bangladesh bowlers with 30-ball 39. Mehidy Hasan Miraz scalped Bavuma to break the partnership and struck again to bring an end to Verreynne's quickfire innings. South Africa declared on 176/6 after the wicket, giving the Bangladesh batters a tricky period of play to negotiate.
With the pitch assisting the spinners, South Africa started with Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer. The move reaped dividends as Mahmudul Hasan Joy was back in the pavilion for a pair. He then trapped Najmul Hossain Shanto in his next over before Harmer dismissed Tamim Iqbal on the stroke of stumps.
Brief scores: South Africa 453 and 176/6 decl (Sarel Erwee 41, Kyle Verreynne 39 not out; Taijul Islam 3/67, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 2/34) vs Bangladesh 217 (Tamim Iqbal 47, Mushfiqur Rahim 51, Yasir Ali 46; Simon Harmer 3/39, Wiaan Mulder 3/25) and 27/3 (Keshav Maharaj 2/17). Bangladesh need 386 runs.