Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Faisalabad, 3rd day October 26, 2003

Pollock and Smith put South Africa in charge

Wisden Cricinfo staff

Close South Africa 140 for 3 (Smith 65) and 278 lead Pakistan 348 (Taufeeq Umar 68, Imran Farhat 128, Pollock 6-78) by 70 runs

Graeme Smith leads from the front

First South Africa's former captain, Shaun Pollock, new ball in hand, broke the back of Pakistan's middle order, and then their current captain shepherded his side into a strong position. At stumps on the third day, South Africa lead by 70 runs, and although Graeme Smith's dismissal just before the close of play was a blow, Gary Kirsten - their most reliable player in this series - was still at the wicket.

This was a wonderful chance for South Africa to draw the series. At the beginning of the day, however, Pakistan held all the aces, eight wickets in hand and only slightly adrift of South Africa's first-innings total. But South Africa struck repeatedly and tellingly to dash hopes of a first-innings lead that would need them to bat only once, and Pollock was the clear star.

As soon as he got the second new ball in his hand, in the second over of the day, Pollock had Inzamam-ul-Haq (23) shuffling across the line and closing the face of the bat, only to be trapped lbw (248 for 3). In his next over, Pollock got one to rise quickly on Imran Farhat (128), who miscued his pull and offered a catch to Robin Peterson at midwicket (251 for 4).

In the next four overs, South Africa snapped up two more. Makhaya Ntini, who had been bowling fast all morning, suddenly found his length, and after beating the bat more than once, induced Asim Kamal (1) to edge one to Pollock at first slip (257 for 5). An over later, Shoaib Malik (9) fell to a freak dismissal, trying to duck under a short ball but leaving his bat sticking up in the air like a periscope. The ball struck the back of the bat and bobbled to Graeme Smith at second slip (261 for 6), and suddenly Pakistan were reeling, still 17 behind.

Moin Khan and Abdul Razzaq put on 32 for the seventh wicket as Paul Adams and Jacques Kallis came on to bowl, releasing the pressure somewhat. Neither was as threatening as Ntini or Pollock, and the batsmen rebuilt and got Pakistan past 278. The lead had just started to build when Moin, after smashing Kallis through cover for four, reached for the next ball to play a similar stroke and hit it to Herschelle Gibbs at point (293 for 7). Moin had made 18.

Shaun Pollock - six wickets in the first innings at Faisalabad
© Getty Images

Pollock returned for his second spell and promptly had Mushtaq Ahmed lbw for 6 while shuffling across his stumps (309 for 8), but Razzaq then farmed the strike to prevent further losses. Shabbir Ahmed, an ungainly bat at best, edged Pollock to first slip just before lunch, but the ball flicked Gibbs's fingers before running away to third man for four. Shabbir's innings was full of such fortunate turns, and it was Razzaq, on 37, who fell after lunch, top-edging a pull to square leg (339 for 9). Shortly thereafter, Pollock got one to rise off a good length, and Danish Kaneria (0), trying to glide to third man, could not keep it down. Pollock finished with 6 for 78, while Pakistan lost their final eight wickets for 109 runs.

Pakistan's opening bowlers started off erratically, straying too far on either side of the stumps to have much effect. Shabbir did almost get Smith caught behind trying to glide the ball to fine leg, but Moin could not get to the ball in time.

The first wicket went down only after spin was introduced. Kaneria, who has outperformed his fellow legspinner Mushtaq in this Test, got Gibbs (20) to play back to the flipper and trapped him lbw (42 for 1). Smith and Dippenaar thereafter played for tea, dropping anchor and patiently notching up the runs.

They were in complete control when Dippenaar (21) fell to a poor shot, trying to sweep Shoaib Malik and misjudging the line completely (93 for 2). Smith played fluently throughout, driving beautifully through the covers - often against the spin of Mushtaq - and he looked certain to take South Africa to stumps. But when he had reached 65 he was dubiously given out lbw to Shabbir, the ball possibly missing leg (128 for 3). It was a stoke of misfortune South Africa could have done without, but it came at the end of a hugely satisfying day that saw them wrest control of the Test.