Younus And Shafiq Lead Remarkable Pakistan Fightback

Younus And Shafiq Lead Remarkable Pakistan Fightback
Younus And Shafiq Lead Remarkable Pakistan Fightback
©REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte. Picture Supplied by Action Images

Pakistan 253-5 (Shafiq 111no, Younus 111) v
South Africa
Second Test, Cape Town, day one

For a while, day one in Cape Town had more than a whiff of day two in Johannesburg about it. Back in Johannesburg, Pakistan were all out for 49, and today they quickly slipped to 33 for four as they were again clueless when faced with fast bowling of the highest order. However, Asad Shafiq and Younus Khan dug in and the upped the tempo, both hitting centuries as Pakistan closed in the ascendancy.

The day did end on a slightly disappointing note for the tourists when Younus was given out caught behind on review in the dying moments but, at 253 for five after being put into bat, Pakistan will reckon to have just about shaded it.

Graeme Smith surprised many by electing to bowl upon winning the toss, but clearly fancied that his bowlers could make inroads into the fragile Pakistani batting line-up before the pitch, as expected, flattened out. He wasn’t disappointed. 

Vernon Philander, who headed into this match with a bowling average of less than 13 at this ground, had Nasir Jamshed caught behind on the drive in his fourth over. Dale Steyn then removed his fellow opener Mohammad Hafeez in a similar fashion with the first ball of his second spell, with Azhar Ali nicking off against Morne Morkel to make it 33 for three.

It got worse for Pakistan four balls later when Misbah-ul-Haq, who had been given a working over with the short ball by Morkel, fended one into the hands of Dean Elgar at short-leg.

At 33 for four, thoughts not only turned back to Johannesburg but also to the last Test played at this ground when New Zealand were bowled out for just 45 at the beginning of the year. However, Pakistan fans needn’t have worried.

Despite some hairy moments playing and missing, Younus and Shafiq took their side to lunch without further loss. Then, as the bowlers began to tire and any early moisture in the pitch evaporated, they began to prosper.

The pair were particularly severe on Robin Peterson, who didn’t find much spin, and was attacked mercilessly. He was hit for six by both batsmen as both brought up their fifties prior to tea. Peterson did create the only chance of the afternoon session, when Shafiq was dropped at short-leg by Elgar, but it was a difficult one.

After tea, it was more of the same. Younus was first to reach three figures, off 192 balls, with the second fifty having taken just 59 deliveries, with Shafiq following suit not long after off 201.

As the batsmen’s thoughts turned towards stumps, Philander struck. Probing away on his familiar off-stump line, he got the ball to brush Younus’ inside edge - as well as his pad - on its way through to AB de Villiers. Initially given not out by Bruce Oxenford, the decision was overturned when Hot Spot showed the smallest of white marks on the edge of Younus’ bat.

And so ended a thoroughly absorbing day of Test cricket, full of twists and turns, but with Pakistan probably marginally the happier of the two sides, if only due to the relief at having survived a potential collapse.

© Cricket World 2013

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