Eoin Morgan believes "brilliant leader" Ben Stokes would find it difficult to turn down the England Test captaincy. 

Vice-captain Stokes is a leading contender to take over as skipper in the longest format after Joe Root stepped down last week.

England white-ball captain Morgan says the all-rounder has all the right credentials to step up and succeed Root.

He told Sky Sports: "Obviously Ben is a fantastic player, a brilliant leader, though he doesn't need to have the captain's armband on to lead like he does.

"The experience of the World Cup final here [at Lord's] really showed his true colours in the way that he led from start to finish – and throughout the whole tournament as well. He'd certainly be a candidate.

"I think it would be hard to turn down the captaincy. It's a privileged position to be in. Obviously circumstances have to be right, but most people who want to take red-ball cricket forward would like to take it on."

Morgan played his last Test for England a decade ago and has not featured in a first-class match for Middlesex since 2019, so he has no interest in replacing Root.

Asked if he would be interested in the role, the 35-year-old batter said: "Absolutely not, no.

"I'm very happy with the role that I play within the white-ball team and English cricket at the moment. It has been the part of my career that I'm most proud of.

"My career is firmly focused on World Cups, and hopefully sustaining what we've built over the last six years is probably going to be the most important part of what I leave behind eventually.

"I haven't played red-ball cricket for a long time. I wouldn't have any interest in the job. I would be no good at it."

Rob Key has been named as the new managing director of England men's cricket.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed Key's appointment on Sunday. He replaces Andrew Strauss, who took on the role on an interim basis following Ashley Giles' departure in February.

Key will have responsibility for the men's national teams and the performance pathways that lead into them. Additionally, he will also play a key role in the upcoming High Performance Review.

He will be under pressure to engineer a turnaround in the performance of the men's Test team, which is without a head coach, selector or captain after skipper Joe Root stepped down on Friday.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, a 1-0 loss in their recent tour of the West Indies making it four successive series defeats. The cancelled fifth Test from India's tour of England last year will be played in July with the tourists holding a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Key played 21 times for England across all formats. He will relinquish his role at Sky Sports to take on the task of transforming England's red-ball fortunes.

"It is an absolute honour to take up this role," Key said in a statement. "The chance to have an impact and make a difference is an opportunity given to very few and I will give it everything I have to try shape the next great era of English men's cricket.

"I have absolutely loved my time at Sky and I could never have imagined leaving were it not for this incredible opportunity. I'd like to personally thank Bryan Henderson and everyone in the team for their help and support."

While the Test team continues to struggle, England will defend the Cricket World Cup they won for the first time in 2019 next year in India and will look to claim the T20 World Cup crown in Australia this year having lost to New Zealand in the semi-finals of the 2021 tournament.

"Although at this current moment it has been a challenging time in English cricket, I also think it's as exciting a time as I can remember," Key added.

"With two of our teams near or at the top of the world rankings and an undoubted amount of talent in our game, I hope to try and bring everyone along for the ride, so we can all help take English men's cricket to new heights across all formats."

England are back in action in June with a three-Test series against reigning world Test champions New Zealand, which will take place alongside a limited-overs tour of the Netherlands.

India then return to complete their Test series before facing England in a three-match T20 and ODI series, with South Africa then touring the country for series in all three formats.

Ben Stokes is the only candidate to replace Joe Root as England's Test captain, according to former skipper Michael Vaughan.

Root's record-breaking stint as captain was ended on Friday when he stepped down after a dismal run of results.

England have lost five consecutive Test series, winning just one of their past 17 matches under Root.

Root, who will remain in the team as one of cricket's elite batsmen, has overseen more Test matches (64), wins (27) and losses (26) than any other England skipper.

Attention is now turning to who might take on the role next, but England's poor performances and inconsistent team selections provide few obvious alternatives.

Superstar all-rounder Stokes is among the favourites, though, and that is who Vaughan would turn to.

"I don't see anyone else who could take the position and be guaranteed of their place in the side," Vaughan told the BBC's Test Match Special podcast.

"In Ben Stokes, you have clearly got someone who has got a smart cricket brain, he's going to give it everything, he is certainly going to have the respect of the players around him."

However, Vaughan added a word of caution: "Stokes is everything in a person and a player that you would want, but he will need a lot of support around him, because when you have got that all-rounder tag and they've got that persona, they think they can do everything.

"You need a senior core around him to give him a few pointers.

"You need to have someone say, 'listen Ben, just concentrate on what you're really good at', and that's out on the field, making decisions and trying to just give us your best performance.

"If he performs like we know he can, he will lead the team by example."

Stokes has captained England in only a single Test match previously, scoring 43 and 46 with the bat while taking 4-49 and 2-39 with the ball in a four-wicket defeat at home to West Indies in July 2020.

James Anderson hailed Joe Root for balancing the stresses of captaincy and becoming one of the world's greatest batters, after the England Test skipper stepped down on Friday.

Root was appointed in 2017 as the successor to Alastair Cook and boasts the most wins by an England captain in the longest format of the game (27).

However, Yorkshireman Root also holds the record for the most losses as skipper of his country (26), and decided to resign following a 4-0 Ashes thrashing and 1-0 series defeat against West Indies.

A new-look England side left out Anderson and Stuart Broad, who have 1,177 Test dismissals between them, for the latter series as the tourists made it just one win in their last 17 red-ball outings.

Root's side are also without victory in their last five series, but Anderson praised his team-mate of many years for the balancing act he has managed between captaincy and his batting.

Indeed, despite England's struggles in red-ball cricket, Root racked up 1,708 runs in 2021 – the most ever by an England player in a calendar year and third-most by any player in history.

"It's been a pleasure to be part of Joe Root's England side," Anderson wrote on Instagram.

"The way he's managed to balance the responsibilities and stresses of leading the team while also becoming one of the world's greatest batters has been extraordinary.

"He is an incredible ambassador for the sport and I can't wait to see him back out in the middle where I'm certain he'll cement himself as one of the all-time greats."

Anderson will be hoping he can join Root on the field when England host New Zealand, with the first Test starting on June 2, as the 39-year-old seamer looks to return after his West Indies omission.

One argument for not removing Joe Root as England Test captain was the seeming lack of credible replacements to take over the responsibility.

Well, that became a none issue on Good Friday when it was announced Root had stood down from the position after winning 27 Test matches as skipper – a record for an England captain.

His tenure came under question after England failed to win in five straight series and now the hunt is on for the Yorkshireman's successor.

Stats Perform have evaluated the most likely candidates to do so.

BEN STOKES

Already England's vice-captain and surely the top replacement to fill the void. It is hard to look beyond Stokes, not least because – aside from Root – he is about the only shoo-in for the Test side. So often England's saviour, the star all-rounder has 5,061 runs and 174 wickets from 79 Tests (averaging 35.89 with the bat, and 32.12 with the ball). A recent four-month hiatus, in which Stokes cited mental health reasons, may raise questions as to whether he will want to take on the job, but he certainly appears to be the frontrunner.

JOS BUTTLER

Buttler's main issue, like so many in the red-ball team, is that his place in the side is far from assured. Having said that, Buttler has been a big part of the leadership team in white-ball cricket and the attack-minded wicketkeeper-batsman may thrive if given the opportunity to lead his country in the five-day game. With 2,907 runs and a couple of Test centuries to his name, Buttler could be the one England turn to next.

STUART BROAD

The decision to drop Broad and James Anderson – the former second only to the latter in England's list of all-time leading Test wicket takers – from the recent series in the West Indies was met with complete bemusement. Admittedly, at the age of 35 Broad is in the twilight of his Test career but he could certainly provide a good short-term option until a more viable solution emerges. He has previously captained England in the T20 format too.

RORY BURNS

Recently dropped from the Test team, Burns is maybe more of an outside shot but perhaps with the added responsibility of captaincy he could cement a place in the team. Burns has proved his cricketing nous by leading Surrey to the County Championship in 2018. Burns would need to start scoring consistent runs at the top of the order, though.

JONNY BAIRSTOW

Bairstow has no shortage of grit and desire. Moreover, he was the only England player to score a century in the Ashes debacle and also made a valiant hundred in the first Test against the Windies, which helped secure a draw in that match. However, Bairstow often finds himself in a battle to even make the team. Ollie Pope's emergence means he is not a shoo-in as a middle-order batman, while he is up against Buttler and Ben Foakes to play wicketkeeper.

There was a sense of inevitability about the impending resignation of England Test captain Joe Root.

Yorkshireman Root repeatedly reiterated his commitment to leading his country in the face of adversity, echoing his desire to continue after a 4-0 hammering in Australia and 1-0 series loss to West Indies.

The latter defeat made it five Test series without a win for England under Root, who has managed just one victory in his past 17 international red-ball outings as skipper.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad, the duo with 1,177 Test dismissals between them, were also omitted for the tour to the Caribbean as a new-look England side struggled as many of their predecessors had in recent years.

The ECB are now without a managing director, head coach, selector or Test captain ahead of a series against New Zealand, starting in June, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler among the favourite skipper replacements.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the highs and lows of Root's stewardship, which came to an end on Friday.

Perfect Proteas start – 2017

Root could not have dreamt of a better start to international captaincy following his appointment as skipper, replacing Alastair Cook – England's leading run-scorer in Test cricket (12,472).

England ran out comfortable victors against South Africa in the first Test at Lord's in July 2017 under Root, who crafted a magnificent 190.

The hosts slipped to defeat in the following meeting with the Proteas, with Root conceding his honeymoon period was already over, but responded to claim a 3-1 series defeat over Faf du Plessis' tourists.

Root accumulated 461 runs in the series, 131 more than his nearest challenger and Yorkshire colleague Jonny Bairstow, as he averaged an impressive 57.6.

 

Joy in the Indian summer – 2018

As Root would quickly learn, any hope of success rapidly diminished when his side were to travel Down Under, with a 4-0 thrashing by Australia and a series loss to New Zealand to follow.

However, England responded in remarkable fashion against the world's number one ranked side India as they recorded a 4-1 victory and celebrated a series of milestones.

Root fell slightly short of his own standards with the bat, finishing fourth with 319 runs behind his predecessor Cook (327), Buttler (349) and visiting captain Virat Kohli (593).

Cook capped a fine international career with a ton in his final appearance at The Oval, while Anderson moved past Australian Glenn McGrath to fourth in the all-time Test dismissals list.

Despite the retirement of Cook, things were starting to look brighter for Root and Co.

Overseas success at last – 2018

Root's record overseas as captain made for poor reading before the tour to Sri Lanka, having lost five of seven Tests while drawing the other two.

But the left-field selection of spin specialist Keaton Jennings and wicketkeeper Ben Foakes proved fruitful as both recorded hundreds in the first Test win over the hosts.

Root joined in on the act with a ton in the series-clinching second meeting, before becoming the first Englishman in 55 years to secure a whitewash abroad in a series of three matches or more.

"We are not a one-trick pony in our own conditions anymore," Root said as he hailed his tourists, who were again defeated in the Caribbean on the following tour.

South Africa saviour after Ashes failure – 2019-20

The pressure was mounting on Root after losses to West Indies and failure to regain the Ashes at home.

Silverwood was appointed as the successor to Trevor Bayliss and, despite a flu bug running through the England side that lost the first Test in Centurion, the visitors battled to a series 3-1 victory.

Stokes and Bairstow led the way for the tourists, who lost Anderson to injury in the second outing and utilised newcomers Ollie Pope, Dom Bess and Mark Wood.

There was also no three-figure score for Root, but that did not matter to him as he concluded "the sky's the limit" for his youthful and promising side.

 

Stokes-less England demolished in India – 2021

COVID-19 accounted for much of cricket in 2020, when England ran out 2-1 victors against West Indies and 1-0 winners against Pakistan after Root oversaw the series win in South Africa at the start of the year.

But 2021 signalled the start of the downfall of Root, who followed up another encouraging series victory against Sri Lanka with series losses to India and then New Zealand, without Stokes, who took an indefinite break from cricket to prioritise his mental wellbeing and recovery from injury.

India then visited for a five-Test series, which they led 2-1 before a coronavirus-enforced cancellation of the final meeting as Jasprit Bumrah headed Kohli's bowling attack that tore through England.

While Root cited "small margins" as the difference in a topsy-turvy series, there was nothing competitive about Root's side when they headed Down Under again.

Ashes disappointment – 2021-22

Australia have proved a step too far for many an England captain, and Root was no different as his team collapsed in abject fashion to highlight the deficiencies of the Test side and county set-up.

Pat Cummins' rampant hosts, aided by some Scott Boland brilliance, secured the Ashes series within 12 days of cricket – longer than England were required to quarantine on their arrival Down Under.

The visitors failed to pass 300 even once, and during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, England were bowled out for 68 in their second innings.

The tourists also collapsed on the third day of the final Test in Hobart when they lost 10 second-innings wickets for just 56 runs, with only a fourth Test draw in Sydney preventing a 5-0 whitewash.

Nevertheless, Root's batting did not falter despite captaincy pressure. His 1,708 runs in Test cricket last year were the most ever by an England player – and third-most by any player in history.

 

Caribbean conclusion – 2022

Head coach Silverwood was dismissed in the wake of the Ashes thrashing, with Paul Collingwood appointed as interim coach to work with Root.

Bold calls followed as the evergreen Broad and Anderson were left out, with Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Fisher, Craig Overton, Chris Woakes and Wood the seamers to feature in the Caribbean.

Credible stalemates across the first two Tests slightly raised the incredibly low levels of optimism surrounding the Test side, but a chastening 10-wicket loss in Grenada confirmed another series defeat.

That left Root with just one win in his past 17 Tests, and he decided to call an end to his captaincy on Friday, though he outlined his intentions to carry on playing international cricket for England.

He ends with the most wins as an England Test captain (27) but also the most defeats (26).

Ben Stokes has thanked Joe Root for his "sacrifices" after the England Test captain stepped down from the role.

Root was appointed as the successor to Alastair Cook in 2017 and holds the record for most wins as an England captain in the longest format of the game (27).

However, disappointing returns in recent outings, with England winless in five Test series, brought Root's tenure into question, and the Yorkshireman announced he had stepped down with immediate effect on Friday.

Stokes is among the favourites to replace Root and took to Instagram shortly after the announcement to show his appreciation.

"Been a great ride with you my friend," Stokes wrote. "Watching one of my great mates lead us all out on to the field was a privilege.

"You have given everything to English cricket and we all want to say thank you for your sacrifices and hard work."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan also had words of praise for Root, despite being counted among his critics in recent times.

Following the series defeat to West Indies last month, the 47-year-old told BBC Radio Five Live: "If [Root] rings me in the next week and asks for some advice, I'll be dead honest: I'd tell him to step down."

Vaughan posted on Twitter on Friday: "He gave it everything with very little support for the red ball team under his watch... then he had to deal with COVID times.

"He still is and will [be] the game's best role model for many, many years. Now enjoy being the senior player for many more seasons."

Joe Root has called an end to his England Test captaincy.

Root was appointed as the successor to Alastair Cook in 2017 and holds the record for most wins as an England captain in the longest format of the game (27).

But disappointing returns in recent outings, with England winless in five Test series, brought Root's tenure into question.

Head coach Chris Silverwood was sacked in the wake of a 4-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia before a series loss to West Indies under interim coach Paul Collingwood.

The ECB are expected to soon announce a new managing director to shape the future of English cricket, and Root confirmed on Friday that he would not take up the captaincy for any longer.

He said: "After returning from the Caribbean tour and having time to reflect, I have decided to step down as England Men's Test captain. It has been the most challenging decision I have had to make in my career but having discussed this with my family and those closest to me; I know the timing is right.  

"I am immensely proud to have captained my country and will look back on the past five years with enormous pride. It has been an honour to have done the job and to have been a custodian of what is the pinnacle of English cricket.  

"I have loved leading my country, but recently it's hit home how much of a toll it has taken on me and the impact it has had on me away from the game.   

"I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, Carrie, Alfred and Bella, who have lived it all with me and been incredible pillars of love and support throughout. All of the players, coaches and support staff that have helped me during my tenure. It has been a great privilege to have been with them on this journey.  

"I would also like to thank all the England supporters for their unwavering support. We are lucky to have the best fans in the world, and wherever we play, that positivity is something we always cherish and admire, which is a huge drive for all of us out there.  

"I am excited to continue representing the Three Lions and producing performances that will enable the team to succeed. I look forward to helping the next captain, my teammates and coaches in whatever way I can."

England have won only one of their last 17 Test matches, while Root also suffered more defeats than any other captain of his country in red-ball cricket (26).

Ben Stokes, Root's vice-captain, Rory Burns, Stuart Broad and Jos Buttler are among the favourites to lead a new-look England against New Zealand in a Test series that starts in June.

Tom Harrison, the ECB's chief executive who will be tasked with finding a new managing director, head coach, selector and Test captain before New Zealand visit, hailed the efforts of Root.

"Joe has been an exceptional role model during his tenure, balancing the demands of Test captaincy whilst continuing to shine brilliantly through his own personal performances," he said.

"He has led by example, and that has resulted in more Test wins than any other England captain, alongside a number of famous series home and away victories.   
  
"Joe's leadership qualities were exemplified by how he led the team through some of the most difficult and uncertain times we have known, playing during the pandemic all over the world, which speaks volumes for him as a leader and as a person.   

"I know that every single person who has played or worked under Joe's captaincy will speak of his integrity and humility as a person, as much as his determination and example as a leader. 

"Off the field, Joe has been no different. It has been a privilege and a huge pleasure to have worked with him in his capacity as our men's Test captain, and I know he'll continue to drive English cricket forward as a senior player, offering his wealth of experience and advice to support his successor."

Andrew McDonald has been appointed as Justin Langer's replacement as the new Australia men's cricket team's head coach on a four-year deal.

McDonald, who has served as Australia's assistant coach since 2019, had been in interim charge of the side since Langer's resignation in February.

The 40-year-old four-time Test all-rounder had been expected to take over from Langer given his popularity among the playing group, who ultimately forced the former coach out.

McDonald took charge of Australia's recent 1-0 three-game Test series victory over Pakistan, while the side lost the ODI series 2-1 and won the sole T20 International.

Cricket Australia (CA) CEO Nick Hockley said that McDonald was the outstanding candidate.

"We interviewed several excellent candidates for this role, which is one of the most important in Australian sport," Hockley said.

"Andrew has already shown he is an outstanding Head Coach and the vision he outlined for the role during the appointment process was both impressive and exciting, making him our clear choice. 

"We are proud of the way the team played and the respect shown throughout the tour of Pakistan under the leadership of Andrew, Pat and Aaron and really pleased Andrew is taking on the role permanently."

McDonald has experience in head coaching, having led Victoria and the Melbourne Renegades previously to all three domestic titles during the 2018-19 season. He has also coached sides in the Indian Premier League and English county cricket.

"I am honoured to be given this incredible opportunity for what is an exciting period ahead," McDonald said.

"The success of the World Cup, the Ashes Series and now Pakistan has been testament to the hard work and leadership of Justin, Pat and Aaron along with the players and the support staff.

"My plan is to build on the growth, depth and experience of the squad while working collectively with the group and across the game.

"There are many challenges in the short term which I know excites the leadership group, the players and the staff. I’d also like to thank my family for their support."

McDonald has been appointed across all three formats but CA noted he may step aside for some white-ball series given the workload of the role.

Australia are due to take on Sri Lanka in all formats in June and July, while they will defend their title on home soil at the T20 World Cup in October and November too.

Dean Elgar says South Africa are in a "very special place" after they hammered Bangladesh at St George's Park to seal a 2-0 Test series whitewash.

The Proteas ripped through the tourists once again early on day four in Port Elizabeth, bowling them out for only 80 to win by a mammoth 332 runs.

Keshav Maharaj took 7-32 in the second innings of the first Test as the Tigers folded to a shambolic 53 all out at Kingsmead and the spinner was also their chief tormentor on Monday.

The left-armer took 7-40 after making 80 with the bat, richly deserving both the man of the match and player of the series awards as he reached the 150 Test wickets landmark.

South Africa are second behind Australia in the World Test Championship table, having beaten India 2-1 and drawn 1-1 with New Zealand before hammering Bangladesh.

With a Test series in England on the horizon, Proteas captain Elgar believes his side are making great strides.

He said: "Everything comes with a challenge. I like challenges, which is why I am still playing Test cricket at nearly 35.

"I still feel I've got a lot of good years left and maybe even my best years left in me. If was younger, I might not have enjoyed it as much. This is still a massive privilege.

"I've enjoyed it so far. The last year has been testing off the field, but I've got an amazing core of players around me that understand me as a character, as a player and a person and the nature of cricket I want to play going forward. Slowly, everyone has bought into it. We are in a very special place."

The opening batter added: "We've had an extremely successful summer, not just as a Test side but as a cricketing nation.

"I think we are on the right path, doing things in the correct way. I am extremely proud of the Test summer we've had and the depth we've shown with regards to our selection pool. I am extremely proud of the group of players that we fielded."

Keshav Maharaj claimed another seven-wicket haul as he ripped through Bangladesh to propel South Africa to a 332-run victory and 2-0 Test series win at St George's Park.

Left-arm spinner Maharaj bamboozled the Tigers to dismiss them for just 53 in the opener, picking up 7-32, and he repeated the trick in Port Elizabeth with figures of 7-40 in the second innings.

Simon Harmer (3-34) again provided capable support as the Proteas utilised just the two spinners to secure the series in 23.3 overs and move to second in the World Test Championship table.

The spin pair left Bangladesh reeling at 27-3 overnight and picked up where they left off on Monday but not before there was an international cricketing first. 

Khaya Zondo, who made his Test debut, and Glenton Stuurman replaced Sarel Erwee and Wiaan Mulder as COVID-19 substitutes – a first instance of the protocol being used in international cricket.

Once play started with the substitute duo on the field, Maharaj soon had both Mominul Haque (five) and Mushfiqur Rahim (one) caught.

Yasir Ali fell to a similar Harmer trap as he holed out to deep midwicket for nought, before Kyle Verreyne stumped top scorer Litton Das (27) to complete Maharaj's five-for.

Verreyne and Maharaj combined again to remove Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 20, caught behind on review, and the left-armer pinned Khaled Ahmed in front without scoring shortly after.

Harmer then trapped Taijul Islam for a duck three balls later to wrap up victory within an hour on the morning session of day four.

Magical Maharaj

Maharaj raced to a quickfire 84 in the first innings to go along with his two dismissals, but again the 32-year-old came alive in the second innings as he reached 150 dismissals in Test cricket.

He toyed with the Bangladesh batters' minds, uncertain whether the ball would spin or go straight on, as he collected another seven-wicket haul to take him to a series-leading 16 wickets overall.

Fierce Proteas tame Tigers

Bangladesh may not have collapsed for just 53 this time, but it was hardly better as the Tigers looked stunned by Maharaj and Harmer and they have now not beaten the Proteas in 14 red-ball attempts.

Meanwhile, South Africa have won five of their last six Tests, including their last three in a row for the first time since a three-game span between December 2018 to January 2019.

Keshav Maharaj and Simon Harmer starred with the ball as a dominant South Africa edged closer to a series victory over Bangladesh in Port Elizabeth.

Bangladesh resumed at 139-5 on the third day of the second Test, but an efficient Proteas attack picked up where they left off on day two with the ball, dismissing the tourists for just 78 further runs.

The hosts declared at 176-6 in their second innings after Sarel Erwee (41) and Kyle Verreynne (39 not out) helped them to a 412-run lead, before removing Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, and Najmul Hossain Shanto in quick fashion to put themselves on the brink of a 2-0 triumph.

Bangladesh managed to hold off the Proteas attack for much of the morning, reaching 192 without any further losses through the efforts of Yasir Ali (46) and Mushfiqur Rahim (51), but Maharaj's dismissal of Ali was the catalyst for a fine display of bowling from the hosts.

One day after producing the best batting performance of his Test career to drag South Africa to 453 in their first innings, Maharaj removed Mehidy Hasan Miraz (11), while Harmer dismissed Mushfiqur, Taijul Islam (five), and Ebadot Hossain, the last of the trio for nought. 

The hosts went in search of quick runs when they picked up the bat, reaching 60 before captain Dean Elgar was dismissed by Taijul for 26.

Erwee, Verreynne and Bavuma (30) then posted decent returns to set the tourists a mammoth target, before Elgar declared in hope of a rapid victory.

Bangladesh's second attempt with the bat began in even worse fashion than their first, with Hasan Joy caught by Wiaan Mulder from Maharaj's first ball.

Maharaj and Harmer claimed another wicket apiece before the day was through, with the former sending Hossain Shanto for just seven runs and Harmer dismissing Iqbal for 13. 

The hosts now appear certain to clinch the series on day four, with the below-par tourists needing 386 to level the series.

Maharaj superb once more

Having recorded just his fourth Test half-century to put South Africa in a commanding position on day two, the 32-year-old spinner starred in more typical fashion on day three.

He set the home attack on their way by adding two more first-innings wickets, before claiming two dismissals for just 17 runs as the visitors saw their top order decimated later in the day.

Harmer gets in on the act

Harmer was also outstanding with the ball, claiming the other three wickets at the end of Bangladesh's first innings before wrapping up a fine day's work by dismissing Tamim. 

Keshav Maharaj produced his best performance with the bat of his Test career before South Africa's pace attack put the Proteas in firm command of the series finale with Bangladesh.

Hoping to secure a 2-0 victory in the two-match series, South Africa resumed on 278-5, but an excellent all-round performance from the hosts in Port Elizabeth ensured they ended day two in a dominant position.

Maharaj's efficient 84 helped South Africa reach 453 all out, then Wiaan Mulder did the bulk of the damage with the ball as Bangladesh slumped to 139-5 in reply, trailing by 314 runs.

The tourists' hopes of avoiding the follow-on would appear to rest with Mushfiqur Rahim, who survived until stumps on 30 not out.

There were only 22 runs added to South Africa's overnight total before Kyle Verreynne was bowled by Khaled Ahmed.

But any hopes of Bangladesh quickly working through the South Africa tail were soon subverted by Maharaj, who hit nine fours and three sixes in a superb innings, his half-century coming in 50 balls.

Taijul Islam removed him either side of claiming the dismissals of Mulder (33) and Simon Harmer (29) to finish with figures of 6-135.

Having made a solid contribution with the bat, Mulder trapped Tamim Iqbal and Najmul Hossain Shanto lbw two overs apart, that duo having compiled a partnership of 79 to move Bangladesh to 82-1.

Captain Mominul Haque (six) fell in the same fashion to Mulder, and Duanne Olivier, who earlier dismissed Mahmudal Hasan Joy for a duck, knocked over Litton Das' middle stump to leave Bangladesh five down and in a dismal mess.

Maharaj magic

A half-century for Maharaj was his fourth in Test cricket and his first since December 2020. A mistimed and perhaps overaggressive attempt at a sweep to leg side saw Taijul deny him his first Test hundred.

Mulder shows all-round ability

After scoring valuable runs in a seventh-wicket stand of 80 with Maharaj, all-rounder Mulder tilted the contest decidedly in South Africa's favour with the ball. He ended the day with figures of 3-15, eyeing his first Test five-for.

Dean Elgar, Keegan Petersen and Temba Bavuma hit half-centuries as South Africa reached stumps on 278-5 on day one of the second Test against Bangladesh.

The Proteas are chasing victory at St George's Park in Port Elizabeth to seal a 2-0 series victory after they claimed a resounding win in the first match, Keshav Maharaj claiming 7-32 to skittle the touring Tigers for 53.

Captain Elgar's 70 helped to build the platform on Friday, as Petersen's 64 and Bavuma's 67 provided further impetus, with Taijul Islam (3-77) the pick of the Bangladesh bowlers.

The hosts opted to bat after winning the toss and started in positive fashion, with openers Sarel Erwee and Elgar sharing 52 inside 12 overs before the former was caught behind off Khaled Ahmed (2-59) for 24.

Elgar continued in imperious form to reach his third consecutive half-century as the Proteas skipper mounted an 81-run partnership with Petersen, before edging left-arm spinner Taijul behind.

Petersen cruised to a third fifty in as many Tests, but he was soon dismissed lbw on review by Taijul.

South Africa's dominance wilted in the final session with Bavuma and Ryan Rickelton (42) falling in quick succession to slip catches off Khaled and Taijul respectively.

The unbeaten Kyle Verreynne and Wiaan Mulder defied the Bangladesh attack before the close, and the home side will look to capitalise to build a healthy advantage on Saturday.

Bavuma's century wait continues but Proteas dominate

South Africa have won four of their past five Tests, including each of their last two. Elgar and Petersen have been keen drivers of that recent Proteas success and again contributed here.

But Bavuma, with batting conditions easing later in the day, will have been frustrated to miss out on a second Test century, with his lone ton coming all the way back in January 2016 against England.

Ebadot toils as Taijul excels

Ebadot Hossain typified Bangladesh's bowling problems as he went wicketless, conceding 75 from his 16 overs at a hefty economy of 4.68. Taijul, by contrast, went for just 2.4 an over for his three-wicket haul.

The Tigers will need Ebadot and Co to support Taijul if they are to claw their way back and beat the Proteas for the first time in 14 attempts in the longest format.

Dean Elgar has hit back at Bangladesh's allegations that South Africa were guilty of "deplorable" sledging in the first Test and says the Tigers need to "toughen up."

The tourists accused the Proteas of crossing the line with verbals at Kingsmead, revealing they would be lodging a complaint with the ICC.

Bangladesh were also aggrieved with the standard of umpiring from South African duo Adrian Holdstock and Marais Erasmus in Durban, where South Africa bowled Mominul Haque's side out for only 53 to win by 222 runs.

Proteas captain Elgar does not believe the Tigers have any grounds for their grievances ahead of a second Test that starts at St George’s Park on Friday

"I don't think they are justified whatsoever," the opening batter said. "We play the game hard [but] if anything we were just giving back what we were getting when we were batting.

"This is Test cricket. It's a man's environment when it comes to playing at this level and I intend still to play the game hard.

"We don't swear or use foul language towards the Bangladesh batsmen because we still respect them. I think they need to harden up and maybe play the game at a level they’re not used to."

Elgar also defended umpires Erasmus and Holdstock.

"The umpiring was tough," he added. "I don't think the wicket helped. There was variable bounce which can challenge the umpires.

"I feel for them because they are good umpires. The human factor needs to be spoken of, they do make errors, as do the players, but I'm pretty sure they’re going to learn a lot out of that.

"The umpires make decisions and we need to respect that. The technology is there for a reason. If you don't use the technology you're kind of holding yourself accountable for their decisions as well."

Elgar had stitches above his right eye and was left with bruising on his face after a fall in the show on Monday, but is set to face Bangladesh as his side eye a 2-0 whitewash in Port Elizabeth.

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