After being swept at home by Pakistan towards the end of 2021, it felt like a low moment for Bangladesh cricket.

Since then, they have beaten reigning world champions New Zealand in a Test match for the first time before getting the better of South Africa in a three-match ODI series, in both cases as tourists.

All of a sudden, confidence is flowing for the Tigers ahead of a two-Test series against South Africa, especially with the fact that the hosts will be missing several key players thanks to IPL commitments, including pretty much their entire bowling attack.

Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi, Marco Jansen, Anrich Nortje, Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen will all be unavailable, meaning captain Dean Elgar will broadly be reliant on the likes of Temba Bavuma, Keshav Maharaj and a selection of significantly less experienced players.

Bavuma is one away from becoming the 24th player to reach 50 men's Tests for South Africa; his Test batting average against Bangladesh (54.3) is his best against any team.

Speaking earlier in the week, Elgar said: "We have to make do with our next best that we have in the country, who I'm still very confident in.

"Yes, we've lost a few Test caps along the way not having the IPL players with us, but it's a great opportunity for those guys to stand up and put those other players under pressure. I'm confident they can do that."

The tourists will also be missing a key figure in Shakib al Hasan, who has gone home for personal reasons, but other than that are due to be close to full strength for the first Test in Durban on Thursday.

Whether they can repeat their famous win in Mount Maunganui remains to be seen but given the circumstances, you would forgive them for any optimism.

Home troubles for Proteas

While they will enjoy home advantage, South Africa will note they have won only one of their last nine men's Tests at Kingsmead (D1, L7), which was a 10-wicket victory against India in December 2013.

That being said, they do enjoy an excellent record against this opposition, being undefeated in 12 men's Tests against the Tigers (W10, D2).

Bangladesh are also one of only two teams who the Proteas are yet to lose against in the format (W8, D1 v Zimbabwe).

Can Tamim continue Test form?

To illustrate recent improvement, Bangladesh have won two of their last three men's Tests away from home (L1), as many as they won in their 26 touring matches in the format prior (W2, D2, L22).

Tamim Iqbal is one away from becoming the second player to record 10 centuries in men's Tests for Bangladesh, after captain Mominul Haque (11). He has scored 50+ in four of his last five Test innings.