Mominul Haque led a fighting Bangladesh performance on the third day of the first Test against South Africa at Senwes Park on Saturday but said mistakes had cost the tourists the chance to be more competitive.
Mominul and Mahmudullah hit half-centuries to enable Bangladesh to avoid the follow-on but their total of 320 was still 176 short of South Africa’s first innings total of 3-496 declared.
South Africa stretched their lead to 230 by making 2-54 before bad light stopped play.
“A lot of batsmen got in but then made little mistakes so they would get out when set,” said Mominul.
“We want to make sure we don’t do that next time. On this type of batting track, making 300 should not make us happy, we should be getting 400 or 500.”
Mominul’s 77 was the highest score by a Bangladesh batsman in Tests against South Africa.
His innings, Mahmudullah’s 66 and four successive half-century partnerships enabled Bangladesh to top 300 for the first time in nine Test innings in South Africa, where they have lost all four previous matches by an innings.
The tourists batted with positive intent on a slow pitch, although much of the good work was undone when they lost their last five wickets for 28 runs, four of them after the second new ball had been taken.
South African left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who took 3-92, said: “The pitch hasn’t deteriorated as much as people expected.”
Maharaj said that with no assistance from the pitch, South Africa had to go back to basics after taking only one wicket during a frustrating morning.
“We spoke at lunch about building a few dot balls and forcing the Bangladesh boys to make mistakes. It was a simple plan but it worked.”
Mominul said Bangladesh hoped to play themselves back into the contest.
“We want to get South Africa all out, not wait for them to set us a target. The pitch is getting good, it’s better now than it was for the first two days.”
The diminutive Mominul and fellow left-hander Tamim Iqbal saw off some hostile bowling by Morne Morkel and Kagiso Rabada at the start of the day, with the first nine overs producing only seven runs.
Both batsmen survived close leg before wicket decisions against reverse-swinging deliveries from Rabada.
But 17 runs came off Rabada’s fifth over of the day, including two successive boundaries by Mominul, and South Africa’s change bowlers were unable to maintain the pressure.
The only wicket of the morning fell to new cap Andile Phehlukwayo when Tamim, on 39, glanced an off-target delivery down the leg side and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock flung himself to his right to take a good catch.
Mominul was well caught at short leg by Aiden Markram off Maharaj soon after lunch after a 150-ball innings which included 12 fours.
Mahmudullah, strong on the drive, found another useful ally in Sabbir Rahman (30) before both batsmen were dismissed in quick succession.