Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Abu Dhabi, 2nd day November 21, 2010

de Villiers double makes it South Africa's day


Pakistan 59 for 1 (Ali 34*, Steyn 1-27) trail South Africa 584 for 9 declared (de Villiers 278*, Kallis 105, Ahmed 6-120) by 525 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

AB de Villiers broke records and Pakistani spirits as South Africa took control on the second day at the Sheikh Abu Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. de Villiers compiled a monumental unvanquished 278, the highest individual score by a South African to help his side declare on 584 for 9. Pakistani resistance was by turns futile and worthwhile; debutante Tanvir Ahmed bagged a six-for by the close and an important unbroken 57-run stand between Azhar Ali and Taufeeq Umar allowed them to return to fight another day.

The story and direction of the Test so far was set by de Villiers. Initially his was a muted, inevitable progression; a continuation of the stealthy way in which he went along on the first day. At no point did he choose to cut loose and it was really a matter of choice, for at no point in the day did he look insecure.

A verbal dance with a luckless Umar Gul on the virtues or otherwise of walking - Pakistan thought de Villiers was out twice yesterday - was his highlight of the morning's first hour. He did break out 80 minutes in to the morning in one over against a tiring Ahmed, a delicious drive sandwiched by a pull and punch through midwicket; the last brought up 150.

The damage to Pakistan didn't seem apparent at first: 74 runs and two wickets in the morning, in fact, was even-stevens. But as the day wore on, de Villiers killed Pakistan gradually, orchestrating a succession of useful lower-order stands. He put on 73 with Mark Boucher, 42 with Johan Botha and, irritatingly for Pakistan, 59 with Dale Steyn.

Through them all were regular reminders of the simplicity of de Villiers' strokeplay, such as an easy glide through gully of Mohammad Sami. To bring up the double as tea approached, he first pulled Gul in front of square before guiding him through gully for another boundary.

Steyn's post-lunch cameo was where the fun really began. There were flick-pulls, drives hit as hard as concrete as well as a magnificent dance-down six over long-on. Paul Harris added a handy 35 but a grand humiliation was served up in an unbeaten 107-run partnership unbeaten with Morne Morkel. The stand broke the South African 10th wicket partnership record that had stood since 1929, when Tuppy Owen-Smith and Sandy Bell put on 103 at Headingley against England.

A flurry of boundaries as matters came to an end amply demonstrated de Villiers' complete and total superiority, as well as that of his side's. In the second session he scored an even 100. Two overs after tea, as he deftly took a single to midwicket, Graeme Smith stood tallest and loudest in the dressing room applauding as de Villiers went past his captain as holder of the highest individual Test score for South Africa.

By then Pakistan were dead men walking. de Villiers had drained them thoroughly and every tailend boundary was simply another prick on a numbed spirit. They had actually begun well, with Gul and Ahmed particularly tight. The latter struck first, a sharp, late inswinger surprising Boucher. The Flintoff-esque celebration was impressive and understandable. Another wicket later ensured the second-best figures on debut for a Pakistani, though by then the fizz had gone.

Even Sami bowled an outstanding spell pre-lunch, full of whizzing outswingers. One such caught the edge but two truths of Sami's career remained unchallenged: one, he has no luck and two, catching is not an Akmal family strength.

All things considered they didn't end badly either. Mohammad Hafeez went in the very first over, but Umar and Ali were firm in a session in which they probably weren't tested as they should've been. The latter looked particularly good, defending and driving with equal assurance. The proper ascent up the mountain will begin tomorrow.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 23, 2010, 7:18 GMT

    man of the match most definetly has to go to umpire harper...hope icc gets rid of him sooner rather then later

  • Syed on November 22, 2010, 15:22 GMT

    @asis rout. I do not know whether it is Ten sports which the PCB did not have a deal to finalize the URDS system, but if it is true then it is all due to ill managed PCB, costing so much to cricket fans in Pakistan. Well if there is a poll within cricketing circles and fans then I am sure more than 80% Pakistanis shall support the URDS system as it brings not only transparency into the system but also keep the umpires more concern and vigilant. India should support the URDS system and look at it broadly rather than waiting for some harsh umpiring decision and then voicing for this system. Coming to the test ranking it is very immature and irrational approach of ICC to label a team No 1 based on a time slot. Rather a test championship be made after every 4 years whereby each team play each other on league basis in 8 to 10 months time so there will be nearly 35 test matches. The team winning most shall be declare test champion for next 4 years. The ICC FTP shall also remain in tact.

  • Dummy4 on November 22, 2010, 6:56 GMT

    Its the 2nd & not the 3rd as the article's caption suggests!

  • diren on November 22, 2010, 6:05 GMT

    AB is class we all know that. But we have to give Smith a big Thumbs up for letting AB break the record ( Held by Smith ). It showed he is not selfish and doesnt care about records unlike other players such as Sachin who play for records

  • Dummy4 on November 22, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    No lbw, in the South African innings. quite odd!!! Nothing to take away from AB devillers He batted excellent, and support from the tale was tremendous. ICC should take a note of so many wrong decisions just in the 1st day of test match. Amazing.

  • Dummy4 on November 22, 2010, 5:42 GMT

    match headed for a draw unless Pakistan's batting collapses in typical fashion. If someone wins, it is more likely going to be Pakistan than South Africa. Time is limited and Pakistan need to bag ten more wickets to win whereas RSA need to bag 19 more... With limited time, and Pakistan having two innings in the bag as compared to RSA's one, if anything other than a draw happens it will be Pakistan's victory... Afterall, it will be an achievement even for Pakistanis to collapse twice, especially after the last test's miraculous draw.

  • Anver on November 22, 2010, 5:07 GMT

    What a player!!....fabulous unbeaten double ton by my favourite De Villiers !!!!!! SA is in commanding position & well placed for a good 1st inning lead....

  • Syed on November 21, 2010, 23:47 GMT

    Ab should not be blamed for the umpires' bad decisions. Bad decisions are all part of the game and it is really what seperates the men from boys. Pakistan really shoud've played sohail tanvir instead of mohd. sami in this test, he would've been good on this track plus he's a left arm fast bowler that can really swing the ball. I think the pak think tank once again failed, and i think its also safe to say moh'd sami's short career is over after this match.

  • Mark on November 21, 2010, 22:33 GMT

    DeVilliers knock was also the 3rd highest by a number 5 batsman in Test history, and the highest since Bradmans 304 in 1934!

  • rao on November 21, 2010, 20:55 GMT

    m happy sami was picked for this match, becoz i dont think he will ever get a chance in future now.the only other thing i want from this match is a long innings from azhar ali. boy is good for test cricket and may b one day in future he needs a very long innings to perfectly settle down into the grove. if he scores 100 plus runs then doesnt matter where the match goes.rite now pakistan cricket is all about finding a set of players who can b an automatic choice for a game. thats it

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