Heavy rain dominated the build-up to South Africa's first Test in six months but it abated in time for the start of the match in Chittagong. Despite the moisture in the air, the promise of runs in the pitch prompted South Africa captain Hashim Amla's decision to bat and allowed Bangladesh's young pace bowler Mustafizur Rahman first use of conditions.
The 19-year old was the only debutant across both sides after South Africa chose to hold their newcomers back. Stiaan van Zyl, the No.3 batsman who has been groomed for the opening role, joined Dean Elgar at the top of the order with Temba Bavuma coming in for AB de Villiers at No.5. South Africa welcomed back their premier pace pack with Dale Steyn, who is four away from 400 wickets, leading the group, and Kagiso Rabada left on the bench. Offspinner Simon Harmer was given the specialist spinner's job ahead of Aaron Phangiso.
Bangladesh went in with three spinners - two left-arm spinners in Taijul Islam and Shakib Al Hasan, and legspinner Jubair Hossain - while Mahmudullah's offbreaks are also an option. They picked two seamers, Mustafizur and Mohammad Shahid, and there was no room for Rubel Hossain. Soumya Sarkar, who was Man of the Series in the ODIs against South Africa, also missed out. Liton Das, in only his second Test, was tasked with keeping wicket.
Bangladesh have lost all eight Tests they have played against South Africa, seven of them by an innings. Even a 2-0 series loss here will not dethrone South Africa from the top of the ICC Test rankings.
Bangladesh: 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Mominul Haque, 4 Mahmudullah, 5 Shakib Al Hasan , 6 Mushfiqur Rahman (capt) 7 Liton Das (wk), 8 Jubair Hossain, 9 Mohammad Shahid, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Taijul Islam.
South Africa: 1 Stiaan van Zyl, 2 Dean Elgar, 3 Faf du Plessis, 4 Hashim Amla (capt), 5 Temba Bavuma 6 Quinton de Kock (wk), 7 JP Duminy, 8 Vernon Philander, 9 Simon Harmer, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Morne Morkel