Pakistan Eventually Finish Off South Africa

Pakistan celebrate
Saeed Ajmal (centre) took four wickets and Misbah-ul-Haq (right) hit the winning runs as Pakistan toppled South Africa in Abu Dhabi
©REUTERS / Action Images
 

Pakistan 442 (Khurram Manzoor 146) & 45-3 beat
South Africa 249 & 232 by seven wickets
First Test, Abu Dhabi

Pakistan survived a late wobble when they lost three wickets for seven runs to see off South Africa and take a seven-wicket win in the first Test in Abu Dhabi.

Despite AB de Villiers' 90 and Robin Peterson's 47, South Africa were bowled out for 232 in their second innings, leaving Pakistan a target of 40.

South Africa, faced with a first Test defeat since January 2011, made sure Pakistan had to work for every run and had them in trouble at seven for three.

However, Younus Khan (9 not out) and Misbah-ul-Haq (28 not out) saw them home with Misbah showing no desire to hang around, clinching the game with two sixes in a 26-ball cameo.

For South Africa to get anything out of this game they would have needed de Villiers, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis, Peterson and perhaps others to dig in and bat all day at least. However, against Pakistan's consistently effective bowling attack, such resistance didn't come close to materialising.

Having helped de Villiers take South Africa past the 100-mark, nightwatchman Dale Steyn hit out needlessly and was bowled by Zulfiqar Babar for seven.

Pakistan sensed victory when Duminy was trapped in front by Junaid Khan for nought and du Plessis, who hung around for 55 balls, was caught and bowled by Saeed Ajmal for nine.

Then came a combination of resistance and counter-attack from de Villiers (90 in 157 balls) and Peterson (47 not out in 67 balls).

The pair batted together for just under 15 overs to get South Africa within three runs of forcing Pakistan to bat again, at which point de Vliiers was caught by Shan Masood off Junaid. The partnership of 57 was the biggest of the innings.

Vernon Philander (10) hung around as Peterson threw the bat to try to set Pakistan some sort of target but Morne Morkel (0) was unable to help, both men falling to Ajmal, who finished with four for 74.

Junaid returned three for 57, Babar two for 51 and Mohammad Irfan one for 42.

After the tea break, Pakistan set about chasing down 40 runs for victory but made a dreadful start. Philander struck with the new ball to have openers Khurram Manzoor (4) and Masood (0) caught behind and when Azhar Ali was caught by Jacques Kallis off Steyn for three, Pakistan had lost three wickets in 21 balls.

What would South Africa have given at that point to have been able to add just another 50 runs to either of their innings?

Nevertheless, with Younus calmness personified at one end and Misbah on a mission to finish things off in a hurry at the other, it might not have made any difference.

The former faced 36 balls and the latter 26, the winning runs coming when captain Misba hit Peterson over long on for a six to confirm Pakistan's third ever win over South Africa and first since 2007.

In their last match, they lost to Zimbabwe but have now managed to comprehensively beat the world-leading team. Quite a month for Pakistan cricket.

The series continues with the second and final Test in Dubai which begins on 23rd October.

© Cricket World 2013