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Bangladesh Wait On Mortaza Ahead Of Opening Test

Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza will undergo a last-minute fitness test prior to the first Test against South Africa in Bloemfontein, which starts tomorrow (November 19th).

"He bowled five overs from a full run up without any trouble and has looked good. However we will wait until tomorrow (Wednesday) before deciding on whether he should be playing or not," Bangladesh physio Darryn Lifson said.

Batsman Roqibul Hasan, left-arm seamer Sajedul Islam and left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak are the three men who will definitely miss out, with Imrul Kayes in line for a Test debut after impressing in the two-day warm-up match when he scored 87 against a South African Airways Challenge XI.

"If our batsmen can see out the first session then there will be opportunities to score and it will become easier to bat," coach Jamie Siddons said having inspected the pitch. "We have worked hard at negotiating the short balls and in the two ODIs I thought the batters handled them pretty well. The only thing that may create problems is if the ball moves about a bit and that's where we have to guts it out," he added.


Captain Mohammad Ashraful expects his side to be competitive. "We have played some pretty good Test cricket against New Zealand last month and also against South Africa when they toured earlier this year," he said. "Those were in our home conditions but I think the pitches here are also good and the weather here has been just like what we get in Bangladesh."


"We are not thinking of winning or losing. The focus is on try and bat eight out of the 15 sessions if possible and that would show improvement."


Bangladesh (from): Mohammad Ashraful (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Zunaed Siddique, Mehrab Hossain Jr., Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim (wicket-keeper), Naeem Islam, Mashrafe Bin Mortaza, Shahadat Hossain, Nazmul Hossai, Mahbubul Alam.


South Africa (Probable): Graeme Smith (captain), Neil McKenzie, Hashim Amla, Jaques Kallis, AB de Villiers, Ashwell Prince , Mark Boucher (wicket-keeper), Paul Harris, Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini.