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Van Zyl, Elgar eat into Bangladesh lead

Trailing by 78 on the first innings after host makes 326, South Africa reaches 61 without loss at close on day three

Van Zyl, Elgar eat into Bangladesh lead - Cricket News
Dean Elgar (28) and Stiaan van Zyl (33) knocked off a big chunk off the lead Bangladesh gained.
Bangladesh put itself in an excellent position to try and force a result as it posted its highest total against South Africa in Test cricket on day three of the first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Thursday (July 23).

Litton Das made a maiden half-century in only his second Test and put on 82 for the sixth wicket with Shakib Al Hasan as Bangladesh topped 300 in Tests for the first time against South Africa, finishing on 326 and opening up a 78-run lead after having bowled the visitor out on the second day for 248.

Dean Elgar (28) and Stiaan van Zyl (33) knocked a big chunk off that deficit, the openers reaching 61 without loss when bad light ended the day’s action prematurely, with 24.5 overs still left to be bowled. South Africa now trails by 17 runs with all ten second-innings wickets standing.

Bangladesh resumed the third morning on 179 for 4 with Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim, the skipper, holding fort. Rahim added only 12 to his overnight score when he was trapped in front by Dale Steyn, South Africa successfully reviewing the original not out decision.

That brought Das to the middle to join Shakib, and the pair stood firm as it defied the South African bowling. Das made 50 off 102 balls with seven boundaries while Shakib played a guiding hand of 47 to help Bangladesh nose ahead.

Das drove Steyn to take Bangladesh past its opponent's first-innings total and took a single off the next ball to help his team equal its highest score of 252 against South Africa. Mohammad Shahid, the paceman, then smashed 25 off 19 balls but Bangladesh lost its last four wickets for just 15 runs as Steyn got into the act.

Steyn eventually finished with 3 for 78, moving to 399 wickets, just one away from becoming only the second South African after Shaun Pollock, the former skipper, to take 400 Test wickets. Steyn is playing in his 79th Test, and should he get one wicket in the second innings, he will be the second fastest in Test history to get to 400 wickets.

Muttiah Muralitharan picked up his 400th wicket in a record 72 Tests while currently, Sir Richard Hadlee, the former New Zealand pacer, is second quickest, taking 80 Tests to reach 400 wickets.

Simon Harmer, the offspinner, also claimed three wickets, including the key wickets of Das and Shakib, to give South Africa a lifeline in what is shaping into a close contest.

Bangladesh has lost all its previous eight Tests against South Africa, most of them by an innings margin.

The second match of the two-Test series will be played in Dhaka from July 30.

To view full scorecard, please click here.

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