Keshav Maharaj took a seven-for in the second innings of the opening Test against Bangladesh helping South Africa register a thumping 220-run victory to take a 1-0 lead in the series.
Maharaj and his team-mate Simon Harmer also combined to take 14 of the 20 Bangladesh wickets to fall between them as the visitors were bowled out for their second lowest total in Test cricket - 53. It was also the lowest score in Tests in Durban.
On a track that was assisting spinners to some extent, Bangladesh had started the day in trouble at 11 for 3. However, they would have hoped to put up a resistance but that wasn’t to be as Maharaj and Harmer ran through the cream of the batting unit.
In the first over of the day itself, Maharaj took the prized scalp of Musfiqur Rahim by dismissing him LBW. The veteran batter took the review but replays showed that it would crash into middle and leg and he had to trudge back to the pavilion.
Liton Das, Bangladesh’s in-form batter in Tests, then gifted his wicket away by flicking one to mid-on off Maharaj. The left-arm spinner continued to bowl with unremitting control and nous as he castled Yasir Ali with a delivery that drifted in and then for it to grip and turn just enough to shatter the timber.
Simon Harmer followed it up by taking his first wicket of the day, with Mehidy Hasan edging one to first slip. Najmul Shanto, the top-scorer for Bangladesh in the second dig (26), was the next batter to be dislodged. With tantalising flight, Harmer drew Shanto out of the crease and Kyle Verreynne did the rest behind the stumps.
Maharaj provided the finishing touches to South Africa’s win by dismissing Khaled Ahmed and Taskin Ahmed. Not since perhaps the days of Hugh Tayfield running through teams like New Zealand and England, have we seen spinners turning out to be a key part of South Africa’s success in home Tests.
On the other hand, Bangladesh could be pondering about the decision at the toss where they opted to bowl at a ground which has historically helped the spinners more in comparison to some other grounds in South Africa.