Morkel strikes after SA set Bangladesh 424

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Morkel-in-actionBangladesh 320 and 49 for 3 (Mushfiqur 16*, Morkel 2-19) need another 375 runs to beat South Africa 496 for 3 dec and 247 for 6 dec (Du Plessis 81, Bavuma 71, Mominul 3-27, Mustafizur 2-30)

Morne Morkel produced a searing opening burst to carve up Bangladesh’s top order and severely dent their chances of saving the first Test in Potchefstroom. By tea on the fourth day, Bangladesh had been reduced to 49 for 3, leaving them still requiring an improbable 375 runs to get with four sessions left in the Test. They were saved from batting out some of that time, with the light deteriorating and rain forcing the covers to come on shortly after the break. It refused to let up, washing out the final session and forcing an early stumps.

Morkel, however, walked off the field towards the end of the session, and it was later confirmed that he had suffered a side strain which could leave him unlikely to bowl further in the innings. He will be sent for scans on Monday morning.

For as long as he was on the field, though, Morkel troubled Bangladesh, getting the new ball to prodigiously swing around. In his first over, he flattened Tamim Iqbal’s off stump by angling one in from wide of the crease. Two balls later, he found movement in the air and pinged the pad of Mominul Haque, who chose not to review the decision despite replays later showing that the ball would have comfortably missed leg stump.

Bangladesh’s only consolation is that they still have Mushfiqur Rahim, one of their most experienced batsmen, at the crease, unbeaten on 16. But even that was down to South Africa’s own undoing: Morkel drew the Bangladesh captain forward and burst through the defences but replays indicated that he had overstepped

Three overs after that, Imrul Kayes was thrown a lifeline when Kagiso Rabada swung one across the left-hander and made him reach out to send an outside edge to Faf du Plessis, who put down a regulation catch at second slip. Kayes continued to stand on shaky ground, taking on short balls and getting away often despite timing his shots poorly. Along with Mushfiqur, the two just seemed to be getting a partnership going, but Maharaj broke through before the association could translate into a meaningful recovery.

Maharaj had varied his lengths with the first two deliveries of the over, first getting a length ball to kick up off the rough and then drawing Kayes forward with a fuller one. The follow-up was on an in-between length that left Imrul in two minds as he withdrew his bat late to edge to Quinton de Kock behind the stumps.

Earlier in the day, South Africa took rapid strides towards establishing a big lead, adding 193 runs to their overnight 54 for 2 in just 241 balls. Du Plessis and Temba Bavuma did the bulk of the scoring, putting together 142 for the fourth wicket. They came together after Hashim Amla edged behind an offcutter from Mustafizur and pushed up the run-rate, punching 149 runs at 5.12 per over in the morning session as Bangladesh’s bowlers created minimal impact.

Du Plessis zoomed to a 100-ball 81, while Bavuma benefitted from a reprieve on 8 and ran up 71 off 107 balls. They got out either side of a 48-minute rain break; du Plessis leg-before to Mominul after being beaten on the sweep and Bavuma to a brilliant leg-side catch by Liton Das, who moved before the batsman had even made contact with the ball. Mominul then struck for a third time when he removed Quinton de Kock, courtesy a smart stumping by Liton.

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