Cricket - Keshav Maharaj
An emotional Keshav Maharaj after completing his seven-wicket haul in Durban on Monday. Image Credit: AFP

Durban: South African spinners Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer sent Bangladesh crashing to a 220-run defeat on the fifth day of the first Test at Kingsmead on Monday.

Maharaj took seven for 32 and Harmer three for 21 as Bangladesh were bowled out for 53, their lowest total against South Africa.

Resuming at 11 for three, Bangladesh lost their remaining seven wickets for 42 runs in less than an hour.

The experienced Mushfiqur Rahim was dismissed in the first over of the day, leg before wicket to Maharaj when he played down the wrong line of a ball which hurried through straight.

Liton Das fell to a soft shot in Maharaj’s next over, flicking a simple catch to Harmer at wide mid-on, and Maharaj made it three wickets in three overs when he bowled Yasir Ali with a ball which spun past the edge of Yasir’s defensive push.

The rest of the batting crumbled with only Najmul Hossain putting up any significant resistance, scoring 26 off 52 balls.

The two spinners bowled unchanged through the innings. They shared the new ball in fading light on Sunday evening and captain Dean Elgar continued with the pair on Monday.

Maharaj said the hard work put in as he went wicketless through Bangladesh’s first innings paid dividends after he took 7-32 in the second. He became South Africa’s most successful spinner since the country’s readmission to the international arena in 1991, moving past Paul Adams’ previous best mark of 134 Test wickets to take his tally to 141.

“I’m actually quite emotional. I’m just glad I could take the team over the line today,” Maharaj said at the post-match presentation.

“As cricketers, sometimes we are impatient people. I think when you bowl long spells you want to get reward and it’s just about sticking to the processes.

“The hard work and toil from the first innings paid dividends in the second.”

It is unlikely the pair would have played together had South Africa not been without their entire frontline pace attack, who are away at the Indian Premier League.

Shift in mindset

“Fortunately, I had Simon at the other end, who provided control. We had a bit of a stop on the game, which allowed us to strike with our (attacking) fields,” Maharaj said.

“It’s been a long time since South Africa has played two spinners, so I’m glad there’s been a shift in mindset towards slow bowling in our country.

“I’m very pleased for Simon, he’s taken the opportunity with both hands. I know he’s gone overseas and came back. He’s a different player, his skills have gone up.”

The second and final Test will be played at St Georges Park in Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, from Thursday.

Brief scores: South Africa 367 and 204 vs Bangladesh 298 and 53 (K. Maharaj 7-32, S. Harmer 3-21). South Africa won by 220 runs.

Series: South Africa lead the two-match series 1-0. Remaining match: April 8-12.