Bangladesh seek to improve dire record
Tuesday, July 21-25
Start time 0930 local (0330 GMT)
In eight previous Tests between these two sides, South Africa have beaten Bangladesh seven times by an innings and once by five wickets inside four days.
That record does not inspire confidence in a contest during the upcoming two-Test series, but Bangladesh's recent limited-overs successes have created a sense of anticipation.
After losing the two T20Is and the first ODI, Bangladesh bounced back to win the one-day series against South Africa with commanding victories in the last two games.
Though their leadership is different in Tests - the ODI captain Mashrafe Mortaza does not play Tests - Mushfiqur Rahim's side will include several of their short-form successes.
Batsman Soumya Sarkar played Bangladesh's last three Tests - against Pakistan and India - on the back of his limited-overs exploits, and now seamer Mustafizur Rahman is set to have a first taste of Test cricket after an exception start to his ODI career.
Mustafizur will be expected to provide a much-needed edge to a lackluster bowling line-up. Rubel Hossain and Mohammad Shahid are the other pace bowlers in contention but Bangladesh are likely to play two at most.
Spin will also be key, with Shakib Al Hasan, Taijul Islam and Jubair Hossain forming the attack.
South Africa do not have AB de Villiers so they are increasingly dependent on the captain Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and JP Duminy.
These three will be expected to hold the batting line-up together, with Dean Elger and Reeza Hendricks at the top.
The spinner could either be Simon Harmer or Aaron Phangiso while the pace attack will comprise Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander. Except for Philander, the rest have been in good Test form.
Bangladesh will rely on the experience of Mushfiqur Rahim, Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes and Shakib and hope they combine effectively with the youth of Mominul Haque and Soumya to counter a dangerous bowling attack.
South Africa WDWWD
Players to watch
Mominul Haque made two half-centuries in the two Tests against Pakistan and 30 against India. At no. 3, he adds stability to the Test team, but not having played the limited-overs games, he will need to adapt quickly to the South African side to build on his performances.
South Africa coach Russell Domingo said he was looking forward to Dean Elgar making an impact in South Africa's top order. Elgar is a compact player who could be key to how the visitors start against Bangladesh's spinners. He is coming into this series having made scores of 208*, 122 and 79 among his last seven first-class innings for Titans in March, and 44, 20 and 98 in three innings for Surrey in June.
Mushfiqur said Litton Das would keep wicket, which means Nasir Hossain will not find a place in Bangladesh's XI. The hosts will have to choose between a third spinner and a second seamer.
Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mushfiqur Rahim (capt), 5 Shakib Al Hasan , 6 Mahmudullah, 7 Soumya Sarkar, 8 Litton Das (wk), 9 Taijul Islam, 10 Jubair Hossain/Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Rubel Hossain
South Africa are likely to open the batting with Reeza Hendricks, and will have to choose between Stiaan van Zyl and Temba Bavuma in the middle order. Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is unlikely to feature in the XI, while offspinner Harmer and left-armer Phangiso are competing for one spot.
South Africa (possible): 1 Reeza Hendricks, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 Hashim Amla (capt), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 Stiaan van Zyl, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Simon Harmer/Aaron Phangiso, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel
Pitch and conditions
The straw-coloured surface at the Zahu Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium is likely to be batting-friendly to start with before spin comes into play. The lead-up to the Test was wet and although the forecast is improving, rain could play a part.
Stats and trivia
-Among the present players, Hashim Amla has the most runs (292) and Dale Steyn has the most wickets (22) in Tests between Bangladesh and South Africa.
-There is an experience imbalance in Bangladesh's attack. While Shakib is nearing 150 wickets, the next highest is Taijul Islam with 35.
"We have to play to our potential. Imrul, Tamim and Mini are world class as well. Then we have Mushy and Shakib. The battle will be at the start of the game."
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha