Pakistan A v South Africans, Sharjah, 2nd day October 9, 2013

Shehzad impresses with fluent fifty

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Pakistan A 230 for 4 (Shehzad 66, Morkel 1-13) trail South Africans 354 for 8 declared (Kallis 70, Maqsood 1/17) by 124 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa's bowlers will hope the surface they toiled on in Sharjah will not resemble the pitches on which they will play the two-Test series. Although a few deliveries kept low, the conditions assisted neither spinners nor the seamers and it was nothing but a grind for the tourists.

The South Africans took the field with ice jackets and cooling necklaces. Dale Steyn wore the former while the other was passed between players at intervals throughout the afternoon, to combat the 37-degree heat and high humidity. They also rotated stints in the field with all players allowed a break for a period of time.

Pakistan A got some value out of the day, doing what captain Umar Amin wanted by batting it out to "give South Africa something to think about" and allowing openers Ahmed Shehzad and Shan Masood, as well as the national No.3 Azhar Ali, to bring up half-centuries.

Shehzad's may be the most important because it would allowed him to announce himself as the prime candidate to partner Khurram Manzoor in the first Test next week. Pakistan have yet to pick another opener after dropping Mohammad Hafeez and will likely select someone from the A side. Shehzad, who is uncapped in the longest format and is just 21 years old, showed he may be the man for the job.

He was expressive against the spinners and fluent against the South African seamers, all four of whom bowled within themselves to avoid tiring out. Shehzad was particularly strong through the off side and on the drive, and was dismissed due to a lack of temperament rather than being outfoxed.

With Robin Peterson keeping things tight, Shehzad tried to loft him over a strategically placed short mid-wicket but offered the fielder a simple chance. That was the South Africans only wicket of the middle session with the focus being on lines and accuracy.

Steyn bowled below pace, Morkel found some bounce and was the only one of the trio to take a wicket when Faisal Iqbal was caught at slip, but it was Vernon Philander who looked the most threatening. His accurate line outside the off stump proved as successful, not in wicket-taking but in problem-causing terms, as it has elsewhere in the world. The bowlers operated in short spells through the afternoon and allowed the spinners to dominate proceedings later on.

Tahir was expensive, especially in his first spell. Too many variations and a bouquet of full tosses threatened to derail the legspinner, especially with Shehzad and then Azhar using their feet well.

Masood's half-century was well-paced and he chose to retire after reaching the landmark. Azhar's fifty was more eye-catching; he was patient upfront, with just 12 runs from his first 33 balls, but grew in confidence later on.

His retirement allowed captain Umar Amin a stint at the crease. With a place in the senior side at stake, Amin showed his ability to hold fort as the day drew to a close. The captains had agreed to enforce declarations after the 100-over mark and with 22 overs left in the Pakistan A innings, South African captain Graeme Smith will have a last chance to bat before the first Test.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Greatest_Game on October 10, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    @ Desihungama wrote "Wasim and Waqar and Imran and Sarfaraz did not complain. They went about their business inventing reverse swings, toe crushing Yorkers developing variety in their armory. What cricketing innovation SA has offered to world cricket?"

    SA offers honesty, decency, sportsmanship. fair play, respect. Yes, we South Africans respect our opponents, and even their rude fans. We feel no need to attack and belittle other teams, players or fans. We appreciate the opportunity to play Pakistan, with whom we share very good relations. We enjoy Pak cricket, although it does seem a little unfair that we win so often, and that Pak victories are somewhat rare. Hopefully that will change, but probably not for a good while yet, as this Proteas team looks set to be no. 1 for some time!

    Looking forward to a great series. Good luck to both teams. Hopefully the pitches will produce a result.

  • Greatest_Game on October 10, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    @ mzm149. Thanks for your response. I think we agree that flat tracks do nothing for cricket, & I value your observations on the Aus pitches.

    You make a valid point that "Asian teams completely eliminate fast bowling out of the equation and Non Asian teams completely ignore spin bowling," although I do think that is changing, as well it should. Eng learned from their Pak whitewash, & their India tour showed that their batsmen had clearly worked on playing spin, & Monty/Swann used India's pitched to defeat them.

    You may be interested to know that one of the most respected spinners ever was a South African, Hugh Tayfield.(http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/47531.html)

    Wisden's obituary describes him as "one of the greatest off-spinners the game has seen," & named him Cricketer of the Year in 56 for a phenomenal 9/113. In their (controversial) 2001 "Wisden 100" list they ranked that as their Top Bowling Performance, ahead of Kumble & Laker. SA could really use him now!

  • Captain_Tuk_Tuk on October 10, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    South Africa are having hard time getting out our non-regular batsman just 3, 4 main player in Pakistan A and South Africa bowlers are already struggling against them and they are yet to play against our best spin trio Ajmal, Rehman, Zulifquar Babar 2-0 is a possibility and South Africa can lose there Test ranking as well.

  • mzm149 on October 10, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    Selectors should kick out Khurram Manzoor and bring in Ahmed Shehzad, Shan Masood, Sohaib Maqsood and Muhammad Rizwan.

  • UnderdogsGalore on October 10, 2013, 6:09 GMT

    Dale Steyn bowling averages: In Afica: 20.56 In Americas: 18.13 In Asia:23.71 In Europe:31.65 In Oceania: 27.69

    The most complete bowler around. It's even a sacrilege to question his credentials. His worst average i.e. in Europe is near about the average of his closest fast bowling contemporaries like Anderson, broad, Siddle, Morkel and Zaheer. His career bowling average is atleast 30 p.c. better than the average of all his closest competitors combined; have some respect guys.

    He is maintaining an average of 22 in a era of flat batting pitches when his nearest competitors are around 28-30; the last time a guy had such significant statistical advantage over his peers was Bradman.. enough said!

  • bijendrasinha on October 10, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    i saw 5 batsment were noted as retired out in the scorecard..since the team total too is reflecting the same as wicket fall,, can anyone please tell me in whose account those wickets will be credited..?

  • Quoteas on October 10, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    So the bowlers cant take wickets. I dont think thats the point. For PAK A batsmen its about pushing for a place in their top team. For SA its about getting used to conditions. The intensity of a test isnt there. At the end of the day both teams are getting what they want. Dont read too much into this.

  • Marktc on October 10, 2013, 5:17 GMT

    All of those judging the SA bowlers should come back down to earth. This is a warm up game, a long practice session. SA are getting into their rythm and not trying to go full out. Oh and t20, Steyn bolwls well everywhere, check your facts. If you are basing your opinion on this game, then stick to t20 watching. SA have a better away record. Wasim, you obviously have no clue about the SA bowling attack, so I will not even comment. My only issue may be, if they are trying to check the readiness of Pakistan players, surely they should have prepared a more competitive pitch. Not for SA to win, but to test the Pakistan batsman and see whi plays well. This pitch is no test.

  • dummy4fb on October 10, 2013, 1:15 GMT

    @t20cric: your name says it all. The Pak A players are playing out of their skins to earn recognition and maybe a Test spot in the near future. The SA players are easing into the conditions and ironing out any kinks. Dale Steyn's best innings figures are at Nagpur. The fact that you're even questioning whether or not he can bowl under foreign conditions is ludicrous.

  • Desihungama on October 9, 2013, 22:15 GMT

    @Greatest_game. Wasim and Waqar and Imran and Sarfaraz did not complain. They went about their business inventing reverse swings, toe crushing Yorkers developing variety in their armory. What cricketing innovation SA has offered to world cricket?

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