Pakistan v South Africa, 1st Test, Dubai, 2nd day November 13, 2010

Pakistan fight back to leave contest level


Pakistan 144 for 2 (Azhar 12*, Younis 21*) trail South Africa 380 (Smith 100, Amla 80, Kallis 73, Petersen 67, Gul 3-100) by 236 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Pakistan fought back valiantly on the second day in Dubai as Umar Gul sparked a South Africa collapse to 380 before Taufeeq Umar and Mohammad Hafeez responded with an opening stand of 105. Gul, the one remaining frontline quick after Wahab Riaz suffered a side strain, struck three early blows before the spinners completed the resurgence. South Africa regained ground during the final session with the scalps of both openers but Younis Khan and Azhar Ali remained firm.

The worst news for Pakistan came shortly before play started as, for the second day running, they lost a key player. On Friday it was Mohammad Yousuf and now Riaz was ruled out of the series with the injury he picked up late on the first evening. Yet, just as things looked like falling apart they picked up with Gul inspiring the turnaround during a fine spell of 3 for 15 in eight overs and South Africa lost their last eight wickets for 73 runs.

But despite their end result being considerably lower than expectations, Pakistan's recent top-order woes suggested Graeme Smith's side would soon be in the wickets. That wasn't the case, though, with Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel inconsistent during their first spells as Taufeeq and Hafeez brought up a rollicking fifty stand in the ninth over. Neither batsman was afraid to play his shots; Taufeeq drove handsomely down the ground while Hafeez pulled strongly against Steyn. It was rare period of free-scoring on a day that brought 213 runs in 88 overs.

Taufeeq, recalled to the Test side for the first time since 2006, built on a fine record against South Africa against whom he averages over 70 while Hafeez, who last played a Test in 2007 against this opposition, didn't take a backward step. It was a sharp contrast to the feeble efforts offered in England earlier this year, and within 10 overs Smith was forced into containment mode.

This is where South Africa started to claw back as after tea they managed to string together maidens and increase pressure on the batsmen with the run-rate steadily falling from five-an-over to under three. The opening pair brought up Pakistan's first century opening stand since Imran Farhat and Salman Butt added 109 at Sydney, in January, but it wasn't a surprise when Hafeez advanced at Paul Harris and lamely chipped a catch to mid-on.

By now, Taufeeq was becoming seriously stalled. At tea he had 36 off 74 deliveries but managed just six runs from his next 45 balls as Harris and Johan Botha probed away. A return to pace brought his downfall when Morkel went round the wicket and gained an lbw decision although the point of impact raised some doubt. Morkel was much improved, striking Younis on the helmet in a tight six-over spell, and South Africa gave away only 58 runs in 35 overs during the final session. Still, it was as comfortably Pakistan's day.

South Africa began in rich health at 311 for 3, but the picture changed considerably in the morning session as the scoring rate was strangled and wickets fell regularly. Gul's spell was the stand-out display, but the role played by Younis was equally vital as he filled the hole left by Riaz with some rarely seen medium-pace, and his seven overs cost just 11.

Harris, the nightwatchman, was the first to depart when he pushed outside off stump and Younis snapped up a sharp chance at second slip. Harris's 42-minute duck set a new record for South Africa and, as is often the case, nabbing the nightwatchman early gave the fielding side a lift. Kallis had clipped an early boundary off his legs but the scoreboard came to a standstill with just three boundaries struck in the opening session despite Pakistan's depleted resources.

South Africa could have shown more intent, especially against Younis, but it was excellent bowling that changed the complexion of the game. AB de Villiers received a cracking off-cutter from Gul which nipped back between bat and pad to take off stump. Gul struck again in his next over, when he trapped Ashwell Prince back in his crease, and although the batsman didn't appear impressed with the decision, replays showed it pitched on leg stump.

Mark Boucher briefly broke the stranglehold when he drove Younis through mid-off but it continued to be painful going for South Africa. Younis and Gul were rested after their hard work, yet the pressure didn't let up as Rehman struck with his second ball to have Boucher lbw with one that went straight on.

From aiming at a total around 550, and the prospect of batting once in this Test, South Africa were suddenly seeing 400 as the limit of their ambitions. Even that proved unreachable when Kallis's obdurate display ended with an outside edge off Ajmal. Moments before lunch Rehman claimed his third when he straightened one past Johan Botha's prod and Ajmal then trapped Morkel with a doosra. One good day doesn't make a series, but yet again Pakistan managed to pull out a performance when it was least expected.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Khawaja on November 14, 2010, 7:50 GMT

    what rubbish pak is playing .....

  • Khawaja on November 14, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    the best way to defend is to offense... i don't know when pakistan team will understand that

  • Khawaja on November 14, 2010, 7:14 GMT

    i can't see Pakistan winning from here in this test match....Look what they are doing at the moment, just blocking all day round....look at the professional teams like England, Aus and India, they all never let things over them after getting command on the things, but Pak.......?????? I don't know why PCB still backs up old guys like Misbah and even Taufeeq Umer...I accept Taufeeq played really very well...But as you see World Cup is around the corner and what we have planned for the Mega Event.... I hope Pakistan do well in the near future as present is worst...

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2010, 6:19 GMT

    hello i am in ksa and this time viewing the cricinfo comentry ball by ball.I wish that younus and Umer should play a positive role in this contes but may be it is difficult for them to stay as per previous results. If pakistan can make a big lead then they can get the result out of the remaining game.Hope and wish best of luck to pakistan team. KMY,ksa khb/dmm

  • mohammad on November 14, 2010, 5:29 GMT

    After a long time the present Pak team with Younus , Misbah and Gul seems to be playing the whole team with some confidence and unity. The selection of players appears to be good from the limited resource. If this team can draw the match that will send a message to the ignorant PCB and the team management that you keep your mouth shut and let us play the game. Good going so far but a long way to go. Hafeez has proved that he should have been given a long run earlier. The newcomers should get fair number of chances like Imran Farhat, the PCB favorite.

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2010, 4:57 GMT

    Great fight back from pakistan will be very interesting day of this cricket macth.hope pakistan will build some very strong total if these 2 players play well.

  • Shahab on November 14, 2010, 2:46 GMT

    I think this batting line up is long due to show a 500 runs scoreboard to the Pakistani fans and after a long time they look stable enough in the pitch. I am sure if they rotate strike and Younus & Azhar give a good start today they can deliver, its a pity for Wahab, i hope he can bat a few balls. Unfortunately they generally stay at the wicket without rotating strike and then get out, should learn from Aussie and English approach or India they score their runs so fast nowadays. Just be positive Pakistan. Best wishes coming from an Indian.

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2010, 1:27 GMT

    It is Amazing how Pakistan Cricket find new talent and bringing the seniors back to perform. Unfortunately it is always in some controversy that pulls them down. Even the followers of Pakistan Cricket anticipates their team to fail even after a sterling performance because of the incidents that has happened in the recent past.

  • Tariq on November 14, 2010, 0:56 GMT

    I think a sensible selection of pak squad for this test match,just one replacement needed asas in place of umar akmal. They could post a good total if younis and misbah fires...which they will prove. To win this test match they should take a lead of 100 atleast and 3 bowlers can be still threatening for proteous!!!

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2010, 22:19 GMT

    I think Pakistan will collapse tomorrow because it always happens.. I hope they reach atleast 300. right this test is very similar to the one being played between india and nz

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