Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada exploited a tricky pitch to set up a convincing seven-wicket win for South Africa in the second one-day international against Bangladesh at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Rabada acknowledged that uneven bounce had contributed to his haul of five for 39.
His first three wickets were taken with balls which lifted steeply off the surface as Bangladesh crashed to 34 for five.
Afif Hossain led a Bangladesh fightback, making 72 in a total of 194 for nine.
Opening batsman Quinton de Kock, who missed South African’s defeat in the first match in Centurion on Friday because of illness, hit 62 off 41 balls and South Africa cruised to a series-levelling victory with 12.4 overs to spare.
Speaking at the after-match presentation, man-of-the-match Rabada said cracks on the playing surface had helped South Africa’s assault with the new ball.
“Recently the Wanderers has been a bit uneven when you hit the pitch with the new ball,” said Rabada.
“When the ball gets older and softer the cracks don’t play as much of a role. We got the ball in challenging areas, trying to make the batters play as much as possible.”
Bangladesh captain Tamim Iqbal, who was the first man out when a ball from Lungi Ngidi lifted wickedly to loop off the shoulder of his bat to backward point, said the conditions had taken his team by surprise after he won the toss and decided to bat.
“This is not what we expected,” he said. “Pace and bounce we can take but uneven bounce is very hard to describe. But I thought we could have applied ourselves a little better.”
Looking ahead to returning to Centurion for the deciding match on Wednesday, Tamim said Bangladesh had shown in the first two matches that they had batting depth.
“We just need to handle them [the fast bowlers] well as we did in the first game because in the middle we can definitely score.” Tamim and Litton Das put on 95 for the first wicket in Centurion, building a foundation for the team’s total of 314 for seven.
South Africa were hampered by an injury to recalled left-arm fast bowler Wayne Parnell, who left the field with a hamstring injury five balls into his third over.
South Africa had picked only five bowlers. Rabada had already bowled seven of his ten overs in his opening spell of three for 25 and Bavuma had to rely on his own slow-medium bowling and the spin of Tabraiz Shamsi and Keshav Maharaj for much of the innings.
Bavuma bowled steadily and conceded only 22 runs in 6.1 overs but Rassie van der Dussen had to bowl the 49th over after Bavuma suffered a finger injury in trying to take a sharp return chance off Afif.
“I have to go for a scan,” said Bavuma. “It’s a bit sore at the moment.”
With the pace threat negated, the left-handed Afif shared partnerships of 60 with Mahmudullah (25) and 86 with Mehidy Hasan (38).
“Fortunately we had done enough damage with KG (Rabada) and the other guys and it didn’t put us under too much pressure,” said Bavuma.
Bavuma was cautious about South Africa’s prospects of clinching the series in Centurion. “It’s a new game. These conditions were a lot different to Centurion. I think Centurion will be a lot more of a truer wicket.”