Pakistan v South Africa 1st Test: Honours even at the close of play on Day 1
The honours were even, at the close of play on day 1 of the 1st Test, between Pakistan and South Africa. After Pakistan had bowled out the Proteas for just 220, South Africa hit back claiming 4 wickets before stumps, including the prized wicket of Babar Azam.
Pakistan *33/4 (17.5 ov)
South Africa 220/10 (69.2 ov)
Day 1 - Session 3 Pakistan trail by 187 runs
Match Report – Salim Parvez - Karachi wicket takes the centre stage
On a wicket that has offered variable bounce, at least from the University End, the Test between Pakistan and South Africa at National Stadium, Karachi, might not last for five days. After being bowled out for 220, the visitors have hit back by claiming both Pakistan openers, the key wicket of Babar Azam, and reducing their opponents to 33-4.
As a major cricket nation, South Africa’s first Test in Pakistan after 13 years, is a significant day for cricket as the two teams looked to move up in the ICC World Test Championship. Sadly covid-19 has meant there was still no crowd present at the venue, which remained Pakistan’s fortress until Nasser Hussain led England to a famous win under lights in 2000.
Pakistan’s playing eleven included two new caps – opener Imran Butt and slow left-arm Nauman Ali - and the return of Hasan Ali, following his bagful of wickets for Central Punjab in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy. The hype created around 36-year-old Tabish Khan, came to nothing, as he could not make it and one hopes this is not the last one has heard of this tireless pace bowler. A back-spasm left him to carry the drinks, still unsure if he is ever destined to represent Pakistan at the highest level.
Choosing to bat first looked a straight forward call for South Africa on a typical dry sub-continental brown strip, likely to be more conducive for slow bowling. A sharp second slip catch by Imran saw the back of Aiden Markham but their 50 only took 10.2 overs with Hasan on the short side having given away 31 runs in his 5-over spell. Babar leading Pakistan for the first time in Tests, invited Nauman, the seasoned 34-year old, to come and bowl the 13th over. He originates from Sanghar in the Sind province and is likely to play an important role in tandem with Yasir Shah, who handed him the prized green Test cap, before the 10am start to the game.
The run out of Rassie van der Dussen, send back by Dean Elgar was not pretty at all. A throw from Babar at mid-on missed the stumps but a diving effort by wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan finished the batsman, prompting a raised finger from Aleem Dar, the most prolific international umpire, standing in his 133rd and first ever Test match in Pakistan. But for covid-19, the 52-year old could not have got the opportunity before as a neutral in the ICC Elite Panel of umpires.
The lunchtime score of 94-2 was built around 46 from left-handed Elgar. First ball full toss, long-off positioned and a no-ball – only the sixth of his 44-Test career – didn’t bode well for Yasir, in his opening over. A sharp reflex catch was floored at short-leg by Abid Ali, off the leg-spinner, on the first ball of the afternoon. Soon he send back Faf du Plessis with a perfect leg-break. Nauman’s first wicket in his 7th over was that of the South African captain Quinton de Kock, who having promoted himself to No.5 was caught trying to hit out and leaving his side wobbly on 134-4. It was again the aggressive intent that brought the downfall of Elgar, who was fifth man out for 58, whilst attempting a drive off a widely pitched delivery. A sense of desperation in the South Africa camp as the middle order faced the challenge of countering spin in the sub-continent, from both ends.
In Temba Bavuma and George Linde, South Africa found a pair that steadied the ship a bit, through watchful defence and risk-free selection of strokes. Captain Babar switched the spinners around to break the stand which eventually came with Hasan’s perfect throw from fine leg to run out Bavuma (17), following a 43-run sixth-wicket stand. Pakistan by taking 4 wickets in the middle session were pretty happy with the score of 179-6 at the tea break.
South Africa didn’t last long afterwards to be all out for 220 in 69.2 overs. Kagiso Rabada dropped off two consecutive balls off Hasan, hit three fours and a six in his unbeaten 21. A good team effort by Pakistan as wickets were shared by four bowlers with Yasir’s 3-48 just nudging him ahead of the rest.
South Africa Fall of Wickets: 1-30 (Aiden Markram - 4.6 ov), 2-63 (Rassie van der Dussen - 15.2 ov), 3-108 (Faf du Plessis - 28.3 ov), 4-133 (Quinton de Kock - 35.2 ov), 5-136 (Dean Elgar - 37.4 ov), 6-179 (Temba Bavuma - 54.3 ov), 7-179 (Keshav Maharaj - 58.2 ov), 8-194 (George Linde - 61.2 ov), 9-195 (Anrich Nortje - 64.3 ov), 10-220 (Lungi Ngidi - 69.2 ov)
Pakistan - Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam(c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan(wk), Faheem Ashraf, Yasir Shah, Hassan Ali, Nauman Ali, Shaheen Afridi
South Africa - Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock(c)(wk), George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi
Start Time: 05:00
Toss: South Africa won the toss and decided to bat
Venue: National Stadium, Karachi
Officials: Ahsan Raza, Aleem Dar, Asif Yaqoob, Rashid Riaz, Muhammad Malik
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