2nd Test - South Africa seal the series with 9 wicket win over Pakistan
By dispatching a gentle half tracker from Azhar Ali, to the fine-leg fence, left-handed Dean Elgar (24 not out), sealed a 9- wicket for South Africa.
Pakistan 177 (Sarfraz Ahmed 56; Duanne Olivier 4-48, Dale Steyn 3-48) and 294 (Shan Masood 61, Asad Shafiq 88, Babar Azam 72; Dale Steyn 4-85, Kagiso Rabada 4-61)
South Africa 431 (Aiden Markram 78, Faf du Plessis 103, Temba Bavuma 75, Quinton de Kock 59; Mohammad Amir 4-88, Shaheen Afridi 4-123) and 43-1
Result - South Africa won by 9 wickets
Barring few ticklish moments - almost a must feature in small fourth innings targets – that saw Theunis de Bruyn glove a catch off Mohammad Abbas and Hashim Amla retired hurt with a blow on his right bicep against Mohammad Amir, it was a straight forward victory. The target of 41 was achieved in 9.5 overs, with five full sessions of play remaining.
The curator team at Newlands, Cape Town must love the Pakistanis for once again getting an extra day to put their feet up. All the four Tests at the ground - 2003 2007, 2013 and now in 2019 – have finished within four days with South Africa coming on top on each of the four occasions. Even the sight of Table Mountain, a famous tourist landmark in the backdrop at Newlands, has failed to inspire the Pakistanis. The iconic ground in the Western Province of the country, has the distinction of hosting English team in South Africa’s first ever Test series, way back in March 1889.
In sharp contrast to the jubilant South African dressing room, Pakistan team management have plenty to ponder, before stepping out in Johannesburg for the third and final Test of the series. A break of four days shall allow some soul-searching from a broken side, clearly with not enough stomach to face, one of the top Test sides in their conditions. Individually and collectively they have failed to deliver, admittedly in pretty tough conditions. About time PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) to ensure future South African tours to have minimum two games of first-class standing, for a Pakistan side to stand any chance of competing.
Having surrendered the series within seven days of play, Pakistan team management could be tempted to make few changes for the Johannesburg Test. Quite honestly with not much to lose, it should consider ‘out of box’ options. This particular Pakistan side would not do any worse if either Asad Shafiq or Azhar Ali is asked to lead the side and bring in Mohammad Rizwan to keep wickets. Sarfraz Ahmed has failed to lead by example and pressure must be mounting for him to give up Test cricket all together. He was not the best choice and neither had been groomed as a deputy of Misbah-ul-Haq, who held the reins of the Test side for almost seven years till finally calling it a day in May 2017.
South Africa - Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, Theunis de Bruyn, Faf du Plessis(c) , Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock(wk), Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Kagiso Rabada, Duanne Olivier
Pakistan - Imam ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed(c)(wk), Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Abbas
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