South Africa 253 (Hafeez 4-16) v
First Test, Johannesburg, day one
Some sharp catching, bowling and moments of inspirational captaincy gave Pakistan the edge on the opening day of their eagerly anticipated series against number-one-ranked South Africa.
Junaid Khan was probably the pick of the Pakistan attack, but it was Mohammad Hafeez, who ended with the best figures as he took four for 16 as the hosts lost their last five wickets for the addition of just 21 runs.
Graeme Smith, in his 100th Test, began well with Alviro Petersen after South Africa had won the toss and elected to bat. However, Umar Gul and Junaid struck in successive overs to remove both and the Proteas suddenly found themselves 46 for two. Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis then led a South Africa counter-attack, with Kallis in particular taking the attack to the Pakistan bowlers. The hosts lunched on 68 for two and would go on to reach 125 before losing another two wickets in quick succession. Kallis fell first for 50 off 78 balls, but it was Amla’s dismissal which created a stir.
That wicket was the result of the first of two influential captaincy decisions for the day from Misbah-ul-Haq. With the threat from Saeed Ajmal largely negated by Kallis and Amla, Misbah introduced Younis Khan to deliver his part-time offerings. He struck with his third delivery when Amla slapped a short ball to Azhar Ali in the gully. That was Younis’ eighth Test wicket in his 80th Test.
From then on South Africa never again really held the upper hand. AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis did add 64 for the fifth-wicket, but Hafeez picked up de Villiers for 31, with Junaid claiming du Plessis in rather strange fashion. The scorecard records the dismissal as bowled but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Du Plessis played a textbook forward defensive shot, held the pose for the cameras, only to see the effect ruined by the ball trickling back onto his stumps.
That made it 232 for six and the remainder fell rather quickly. Hafeez was kept on by Misbah when another captain may have brought back his strike bowlers. He decided to persist with the off-spinner, probably because of the sudden abundance of left-handers. Hafeez almost immediately rewarded him and had Robin Peterson bowled for a duck and Dean Elgar caught behind. Vernon Philander was then run-out, with Hafeez then removing his third leftie, having Morne Morkel bowled to end the innings.
South Africa’s sudden collapse left Pakistan two overs to survive from Test cricket’s most potent new-ball attack, which Hafeez and debutant Nasir Jamshed survived and reduced their deficit by six.
© Cricket World 2013
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