Pakistan v South Africa, 3rd Test, Abu Dhabi, 1st day November 20, 2010

Kallis, de Villiers tons put South Africa ahead


South Africa 311 for 5 (de Villiers 119*, Kallis 105, Tanvir 4-67) v Pakistan
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Contrasting hundreds from Jacques Kallis and AB de Villiers pulled South Africa out of strife and into a position of considerable comfort at the Sheikh Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi. Debutant seamer Tanvir Ahmed had reduced South Africa to 33 for 3 but Kallis and de Villiers punched back with a 179-run stand that left South Africa handily placed on 311 for 5. For Pakistan, only Tanvir could look back on the day with similar pride.

The Kallis-de Villiers stand was the tenth century partnership in 32 innings between the pair and it was done with such aggression it suggested Pakistan were in trouble when they came together. Kallis's fight began the moment Graeme Smith became the third victim of a hectic morning and though his mien remained as expressionless as usual, his game was unusually expressive.

He had hooked an uncontrolled six by the time a swish of fortune sashayed in. Mohammad Sami's first over captured an entire career: one unplayable delivery, honest endeavour but batsman ultimately supreme. Having been beaten by a beauty, Kallis coolly cover drove the next two balls for four and the day's mood changed.

Sami was plundered repeatedly, everywhere and anywhere and even Umar Gul wasn't spared a fine pull and efficient drives. Either side of lunch two towering sixes off Abdur Rehman brought one message: 'I am Kallis, you are nothing'. Not a particularly attacking spinner on his best days, Rehman immediately retreated, the supremacy in the relationship established. By then a swift fifty had been notched up as casually as a snap of the fingers.

de Villiers was twitchier, a more impish presence and not just because he doesn't have Kallis' broad-chested appearance. Whereas Kallis imposed himself on matters, de Villiers took advantage of Pakistan's growing flakiness. When they pitched short, he gladly cut; when they got too full he happily drove; when they drifted to his pads, he politely clipped away.

Five overs after lunch a century partnership was registered and by this time, the surface had lost its early morning friskiness. Boundaries were mostly controlled, though with Sami around control remained a relative concept. In any case, runs were so readily available no risk needed to be taken. One flick brought up a fifty for de Villiers. As an afterthought Kallis brought up a fifth hundred in four Tests against Pakistan, in which his lowest score is 59; in his first 11 against them, he had only one. It was his fastest century as well.

When Kallis fell, de Villiers carried on, though with the sadness and restraint of someone who has lost a partner. He was comatose during the nineties, only waking up once four freebie overthrows from Gul took him to 99. It would've been impolite to not take a single next ball. Essentially the day ended there for him.

Pakistan were fitful, not stringing together any sustained pressure. Tanvir was responsible for the highs, further proof that whatever hole they find themselves in, there's always a fast bowler to get excited about.

A month shy of his 32nd birthday, he was an unlikely hero and not just because he is probably the best bowler ever born in Kuwait. The pitch at Test cricket's 103rd venue had enough moisture in it early on to tempt Misbah-ul-Haq to bowl. It was a second gesture of positivity; the first had been to revert back to Pakistan's traditional strengths by selecting a three-man pace attack.

Tanvir has long been a steady hand at the domestic level; sharp enough, always tight and if conditions are right, eminently capable of exploiting them. So in he ran as Pakistan's oldest debutant new-ball bowler, a heavy action and a grunt at release and did precisely that. Immediately he became the sixth Pakistani to take a wicket in the first over and a typical scalp too, full, searching for swing, finding an edge. It was his 400th first-class wicket. Five balls later he had another and Test cricket was looking an easy game, though admittedly Asoka de Silva had a greater hand in Hashim Amla returning to the pavilion.

Later, through a long afternoon Tanvir maintained a pleasant discipline and the wicket of Kallis after tea helped Pakistan slow down the scoring. But after the first hour the bluff had gone from the rest and the attack looked precisely what it was: quite weak. Gul looked good in patches, Sami a man condemned and Rehman the wrong choice.

The umpires, who got four decisions clearly wrong, had a worse day.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Amol on November 21, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    That was some **S-U-P-E-R-B** bowling by Tanvir Ahmed on this particular pitch to get S-I-X wickets of this particular team. Hats off to him.

  • Amol on November 21, 2010, 11:51 GMT

    sabee66: ("teams like India is becomign 1 without having any quality bowling since 1980") yet another blind remark. I hope you have not forgotten this guy who goes by the name: 'Anil Kumble'.

  • Aazer on November 21, 2010, 7:55 GMT

    Congratulations to Tanvir for taking five wickets on debut, especially on a placid pitch against a team like S.A. Sami has yet again proved that how worthless a bowler this guy is.

  • sabtain on November 21, 2010, 4:36 GMT

    what a tremendous talent Pakistan got, never stop producing qulaity bowlers, one goes another one comes, well done Tanvir this time, SA is very experienced and deserving number 1 in the world. Pakistan if deal properly with issues and descipline they are undefeated world champions without any doubt these guys are superb, but they put up this show some time like recently we have seen in few gamse, IMAGINE IF THE SQUAD WILL BE FULL, AMIR, ASIF,YOUSAF, they will kill but money and corruption is killing our cricket and teams like India is becomign 1 without having any quality bowling since 1980

  • Amol on November 21, 2010, 4:24 GMT

    cric4world: ("the way ball was moving at that time u cant say for certain that amla would have stayed long") Considering the form Amla is in, had he been not given out unfairly, he would have helped the moving ball to further move out of the boundary ropes and stadium galleries to make it 311/3.

  • Amol on November 21, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    @cric4world: Do you remember what the scoreline was during SA's 2nd innings in the first Test??? PAK bowlers would have at most got **Z-E-R-O** wickets if the Openers had NOT been BLATANTLY given out. And that would have been 318-0 and since Smith plays more aggressively than Amla and Kallis, it would been more (say around 340-0). In this 2nd test here, one just have to look at Amla's form to understand the impact his been blatantly given out had on the SA score. So it would HAVE been 311/3.

  • rao on November 21, 2010, 2:18 GMT

    i dont know why is every1 criticisinig pakistan so much.we all knew its a weakened n feeble bowling attack without amir n asif, we all knew its a batting wicket and we all knew south africa has best n experienced batsmen in their line up.then wat was so surprising? if anything i think pakistan did pretty well to start the match on a good note, their fielding was better then before they held onto catches n saved quite a few boundaries.and when u consider three umpiring decisions going against them when kallis n deviliers were well settled and scoring runs u must admit they were very unlucky.yeah amla was unfortunate too but the way ball was moving at that time u cant say for certain that amla would have stayed long.despite some lose bowling which was expected, i think scoreboard could read different if there werent so many umpiring errors.but its all a part of cricket

  • paul on November 20, 2010, 22:00 GMT

    Poor umpiring, weak bowling line up (without Akhtar and Aamer its no better than a pop gun attack!!) and flat track apart South Africas top batting order is the strongest in test match cricket at the moment and even when their 2010 top Test and ODI run scorer has a rare unfortunate failure Nos 4 & 5 aren't bad either are they? Kallis and DeVilliers made the Pakistani bowlers look very ordinary indeed as you would expect from one great world class batsman in Kallis and another very fine one in ABDeV. Had it not been for a freakish delivery to dismiss him they would have been looking down the proverbial Kallis barrel tomorrow such is his imperious form at the moment. Technically, mentally and clinically Kallis is without doubt IMHO the best white batsman I've ever seen and one of the top three in world cricket. He may be methodical, watchful, and yes even a little selfish but my god he is good to watch!!.l

  • burger on November 20, 2010, 21:23 GMT

    i think bangladesh can compete better than pakistan with other teams.First of all their odi captain(afridi) is never concerned with the situation and he plays irresponsibly for this showmanship status .I think austrailan under-14 team play better than this pakistani team

  • rao on November 20, 2010, 20:32 GMT

    @hamwil80.....311/3???? seriously????

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