(Reuters) – South Africa will be hoping to ease new coach Ottis Gibson into his job in a two-test series against Bangladesh where the home side defend a one-sided record against their opponents but are light on fast bowlers and still tinkering with their top order.
South Africa have won by an innings in each of their four previous home tests against Bangladesh and not lost to them away either.
But after losing a four-match series in England this year and still without key elements of their pace attack, there will be no air of complacency about the home team.
Chris Morris, Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn remain sidelined, leaving Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada to lead a thin seam attack while 22-year-old Aiden Markham will make his debut as the latest opening partner for Dean Elgar.
“We have a good understanding of each other’s games and how we operate. I am excited to go with him,” Markham told reporters.
For Gibson the injury toll among the bowlers is a primary concern.
“That’s a problem straight away. To win test matches, you need to take 20 wickets and having your best four fast bowlers fit and ready gives you a chance to do that,” he said.
Gibson asked all the test players to play in last week’s first round of the domestic four-day series in order to get match practice. “I don’t want to get into any thinking that Bangladesh is an easy series,” he added.
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan misses out after he asked for time off to recover from exhaustion. Shakib has played 50 international matches across all formats of the game since 2016, and plays for Twenty20 teams in multiple franchise-based leagues around the world.
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal is expected to be fit despite not batting on the last day of the warm-up match against a South African Invitation XI. He strained a thigh muscle on the first day of the match.
The first test in Potchefstroom, which starts tomorrow, will mark the introduction of a number of new rules to the game including umpires being able to send players off for serious offences.