Hard work pays off for Maharaj in tale of two innings

Keshav 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 to lead South Africa to a dominant 220-run victory on Monday.

Keshav Maharaj of South Africa in action.   -  Getty Images

Keshav 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 to lead South Africa to a dominant 220-run victory on Monday.

Left-arm spinner Maharaj bowled 37 overs without reward in Bangladesh’s opening total of 298, but was devastatingly effective in helping restrict them to a paltry 53 in pursuit of their victory target of 274.

He became South Africa’s most successful spinner since the country’s readmission to the international arena in 1991, moving past Paul Adams’s 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."

Ross Taylor plays last innings for New Zealand cricket team  

Maharaj bowled in tandem with off-spinner Simon Harmer, who was playing his first test in seven years after a spell in English county cricket with Essex. Harmer finished with match figures of 7-124.

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.

"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 George’s Park in Gqeberha, formerly known as Port Elizabeth, from Thursday.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :