Pakistan v South Africa, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 1st day October 14, 2013

Amla makes century, Pakistan make inroads

112

South Africa 245 for 8 (Amla 118*, Duminy 57, Babar 3-89) v Pakistan
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

The ebbs and flows of Test cricket were in full evidence on the first day in Abu Dhabi, ending with Pakistan the slightly happier side despite Hashim Amla adding to his rapidly increasing century count. Pakistan's new-ball bowlers produced the breakthroughs in the morning session, then Amla and the middle order made the pitch seem utterly docile in the second session, before the spinners sparked a collapse in the final session.

Few sights are as reassuring for South Africa fans as seeing Amla in the middle. He produced a typically graceful innings, full of whiplash drives through the off and was comfortable camping on the backfoot and playing late against the spinners. As usual, he walked across the stumps to flick balls well outside off to the leg side and serenely progressed to his 20th Test century.

There were two main partnerships he was involved in, as he set about stabilising the South Africa innings after three early wickets, first 61 with a fluent AB de Villiers and then 95 with the returning JP Duminy. During those two stands, Pakistan's bowling seemed to lack sting and South Africa seemed to be on autopilot as they collected the runs.

Both those alliances ended with soft dismissals. De Villiers' was the sort that sends you scurrying to Youtube. He was looking to defend off the front foot and after an lbw appeal, he held the pose for the umpire. The ball rolled over towards slip, and the keeper Adnan Akmal signalled to Younis Khan to return the ball to the stumps. Adnan took the bails off and after many replays it was determined that de Villiers' backfoot was just outside the crease.

Duminy was playing his first Test innings in over a year but looked in fine touch. He has had his problems against spin, but this time he began with some confident shots down the ground. He was picking Saeed Ajmal's doosras well and was untroubled by the quicks as well, and progressed to a brisk half-century. Soon after he was dropped by Adnan off a thick edge, and even before the talk about how expensive that could prove ended, Duminy swept a harmless delivery straight to a deepish backward square leg.

It was the first wicket for left-arm-spinner Zulfiqar Babar, who at nearly 35 became Pakistan's third oldest debutant. Babar whirls his arms like a contortionist as he reaches the bowling mark, but in his first day in the top flight, he was steady and showed few signs of nerves. With Ajmal also getting the ball to grip at the other end, Babar kept the pressure on South Africa and was rewarded with two more wickets, of Faf du Plessis and Robin Peterson. The Peterson wicket is one he'll remember as he got the ball to turn viciously to zip between bat and pad and onto the stumps.

When Ajmal finally had reward with the wicket of Vernon Philander, South Africa had slid to 222 for 8, losing four wickets to spin for 23 runs. Amla was at the other end providing another lesson on playing the turning ball, but the lower-middle order didn't stick around to support him.

That helped a Pakistan side which is slightly imbalanced in the absence of their regular allrounder Mohammad Hafeez. Without him, they have only four recognised bowlers and will have to otherwise depend on part-timers like Younis and Azhar Ali. It was a risky strategy especially given the concerns over whether Mohammad Irfan has the stamina needed for Test cricket.

Irfan gave a scare when he walked off in the final session, but was back after about half an hour having recovered from the cramps he suffered in the stifling heat. He was terrific in the morning session, bowling at pace and constantly attacking on the offstump line. He got his typical extra bounce which led to a wicket in the third over itself as Alviro Petersen fell to a juggling catch at short leg.

Graeme Smith has had a long absence from top-flight cricket and it showed in his first international innings back. He was left searching for the ball outside off several times, there were a couple of streaky edged boundaries behind the wicket, after the second of which he nicked one through to the keeper.

Another man returning from time away from cricket, Jacques Kallis, didn't look as rusty as Smith, but he too didn't make too many runs, inside-edging an incutter from Junaid Khan to the keeper for 5. It wasn't the biggest of crowds that showed up in Abu Dhabi, but they certainly found their voice when South Africa were dithering at 43 for 3.

Though they were quietened by the stands Amla was involved in, the spinners provided them plenty to cheer towards the end of the day.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • malepas on October 14, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    A good day of Test cricket all round, Pak has the edge and done a tremendous job by taking 8 SA wickets on first day on docile wicket, Ajmal bowled well but on times he is pitching on middle and leg more where is not that lethal but he will get back in 2nd innings, fast bowlers bowled really well, I think Pak done well by including Irfan as he is a genuine wicket taker, surprised to see Shan Masood and not Shehzad, he is far more talented and accomplished bat then him, I don't buy right hand left hand rubbish, Shehzad's first class ave is far better then Shan and he played much better then Shan in side match, then why he is picked instead of Shehzad? Pak needs to score min 350 on this wicket and they should win if they takes around 100 runs 2nd innings lead, I expect SA to fold under 200 in 2nd innings which will give around 150 to win.

  • phermon on October 16, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    malepas, with that prognosis I am glad you're not my doctor. Prediction in cricket is extremely brave and unwise

  • phermon on October 16, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    heathrf1974 , Sorry - my bad - I thought that the Safferons were hosting an away game - point accepted.

  • on October 15, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    I must say I felt extremely uncomfortable with the decision re the De Villiers run out. How the third umpire could reach his decision is beyond me - it was a 50/50 case. Ump Reifel is not up to international standard. Please remove him before he makes more serious mistakes than the number of no-balls he allowed. l think he shoulsd be used ONLY in the limited versions of the game

  • Greatest_Game on October 15, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    @ sachin_paul de Villiers has scored centuries recently, but has no chance of doing so when given out when there is no evidence that his foot was NOT behind the line. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the batsman if no clear, irrefutable evidence exists. The evidence was at best 50/50. AB WAS SUPPOSED TO GET THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. He did not. That is an umpiring error.

  • MEHATELK on October 15, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    @ Albert_cambell this is not the place to comment about sachin and dravid, but for yr information please look at this sachin got 15837 test runs under his belt. among that he has scored 1809runs (ave 53) in australia, 1575 (ave 54) runs in england ,842 (ave 50) runs in newzeland , 1161 (ave 46)in sa,620 (ave 48)in WI 240 in zimbawe sum of 6247 at the average of 50 plus runs in so fast tract pitches.

  • Greatest_Game on October 15, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    The dismissal of AB de Villiers was a travesty. There is NO conclusive proof that his spikes or the rand of his boot were NOT behind the line. A single camera view - a long zoom with unmistakable perspective distortion - is no concussive evidence. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the batsman. This video footage would never be considered as forensic evidence in any court of law. It would be torn apart by any lawyer. The issue if the ball was dead or not, is moot. It does not matter. The camera shot, because of the angle and focal length, is entirely unable to provide clear depth of field. Any optics expert would laugh at the idea that a valid decision can be made on those 2 TV footage frames. Without TV replay, a competent ump would never have given him out.

    The umpiring was puzzling, to say the least. Irfan bowled no-ball after no-ball - an entire over of no-balls - and was called once. His foot was 6 inches over at times. The umpiring was unquestionably incompetent.

  • on October 15, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    The pitches against england never turned enough, may be in the later half of 3rd day or the 4th by which time england had already lost. Ajmal does not rely upon spinning the ball too much, just enough. it was not the turn that got england just that they are not good enough. indian spinners need big turn, pakistani spinners usually can work without that.

  • Solid_Snake on October 15, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    @Justin: Great post...You say Pak lost to Zimbabwe so they'l lose to SA as well..On the other hand saying that Kallis had some bad patches but now he'l score..1 same thing being said totally different for 2 scenerios.lol

  • 2nd_Slip on October 15, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    @ sachin_paul-where were you when AB de villliers scored 169 against Aus late last year and 2 centuries against Pak earlier this year!?

  • malepas on October 14, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    A good day of Test cricket all round, Pak has the edge and done a tremendous job by taking 8 SA wickets on first day on docile wicket, Ajmal bowled well but on times he is pitching on middle and leg more where is not that lethal but he will get back in 2nd innings, fast bowlers bowled really well, I think Pak done well by including Irfan as he is a genuine wicket taker, surprised to see Shan Masood and not Shehzad, he is far more talented and accomplished bat then him, I don't buy right hand left hand rubbish, Shehzad's first class ave is far better then Shan and he played much better then Shan in side match, then why he is picked instead of Shehzad? Pak needs to score min 350 on this wicket and they should win if they takes around 100 runs 2nd innings lead, I expect SA to fold under 200 in 2nd innings which will give around 150 to win.

  • phermon on October 16, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    malepas, with that prognosis I am glad you're not my doctor. Prediction in cricket is extremely brave and unwise

  • phermon on October 16, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    heathrf1974 , Sorry - my bad - I thought that the Safferons were hosting an away game - point accepted.

  • on October 15, 2013, 15:25 GMT

    I must say I felt extremely uncomfortable with the decision re the De Villiers run out. How the third umpire could reach his decision is beyond me - it was a 50/50 case. Ump Reifel is not up to international standard. Please remove him before he makes more serious mistakes than the number of no-balls he allowed. l think he shoulsd be used ONLY in the limited versions of the game

  • Greatest_Game on October 15, 2013, 7:37 GMT

    @ sachin_paul de Villiers has scored centuries recently, but has no chance of doing so when given out when there is no evidence that his foot was NOT behind the line. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the batsman if no clear, irrefutable evidence exists. The evidence was at best 50/50. AB WAS SUPPOSED TO GET THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. He did not. That is an umpiring error.

  • MEHATELK on October 15, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    @ Albert_cambell this is not the place to comment about sachin and dravid, but for yr information please look at this sachin got 15837 test runs under his belt. among that he has scored 1809runs (ave 53) in australia, 1575 (ave 54) runs in england ,842 (ave 50) runs in newzeland , 1161 (ave 46)in sa,620 (ave 48)in WI 240 in zimbawe sum of 6247 at the average of 50 plus runs in so fast tract pitches.

  • Greatest_Game on October 15, 2013, 6:18 GMT

    The dismissal of AB de Villiers was a travesty. There is NO conclusive proof that his spikes or the rand of his boot were NOT behind the line. A single camera view - a long zoom with unmistakable perspective distortion - is no concussive evidence. The benefit of the doubt is supposed to go to the batsman. This video footage would never be considered as forensic evidence in any court of law. It would be torn apart by any lawyer. The issue if the ball was dead or not, is moot. It does not matter. The camera shot, because of the angle and focal length, is entirely unable to provide clear depth of field. Any optics expert would laugh at the idea that a valid decision can be made on those 2 TV footage frames. Without TV replay, a competent ump would never have given him out.

    The umpiring was puzzling, to say the least. Irfan bowled no-ball after no-ball - an entire over of no-balls - and was called once. His foot was 6 inches over at times. The umpiring was unquestionably incompetent.

  • on October 15, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    The pitches against england never turned enough, may be in the later half of 3rd day or the 4th by which time england had already lost. Ajmal does not rely upon spinning the ball too much, just enough. it was not the turn that got england just that they are not good enough. indian spinners need big turn, pakistani spinners usually can work without that.

  • Solid_Snake on October 15, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    @Justin: Great post...You say Pak lost to Zimbabwe so they'l lose to SA as well..On the other hand saying that Kallis had some bad patches but now he'l score..1 same thing being said totally different for 2 scenerios.lol

  • 2nd_Slip on October 15, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    @ sachin_paul-where were you when AB de villliers scored 169 against Aus late last year and 2 centuries against Pak earlier this year!?

  • heathrf1974 on October 15, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    @phermon I beg to differ. The Aussies would like to see Pakistan win.

  • heathrf1974 on October 15, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    Amla does it again with a fine knock. What a great player.

  • on October 15, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    what a player Hashim Amla is , he always give his 100% simply the best he is .

  • Philippe on October 15, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    I am pretty confident of Pak batting. They will not score even 250 in their first innings, SA will take some lead put on a decent target & in 4th innings Pak will crumble & SA will win this test match. thats pretty sure because Pak's batting has been much below average in recent years.

  • RaadQ on October 15, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    Pakistan really need to work on their fielding, especially when the batting element of their game has let them down for a long time. Amla could have been runout on 15 (I believe). For years they have let players like Amla, Sanga, Ponting and others get away early and then punish them with big centuries. If they fix their fielding, there will also be less pressure on their batting.

  • on October 15, 2013, 4:30 GMT

    its amazing how Pakistan support already believe they will win. lost against Zimbabwe I believe. Kallis is a Great, has some bad patches but has proven ge can score lots of runs as well as bowl.

  • black_bird on October 15, 2013, 4:17 GMT

    i am just tired of overrated smith and kallis struggling.please, drop them if they can't perform at 2nd innings.win for pak is sure.

  • phermon on October 15, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    Is this for real? David Boon - a match referee. Sounds stacked against the home side with three of the four match officials more or less Australian

  • on October 15, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    pakistan need to get 400 plus runs to win this match.

  • sachin_paul on October 15, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Am really sorry to say this but AB Devilliers is kind of becoming an unfulfilled promise . The last time he scored a "big daddy" hundred was nearly two years ago. This is the sort of match where you'd expect De Villiers to stand up and play an innings like Hashim Amla did. However, too much T20 and wicket keeping are taking their toll on a man who was once considered the future of world cricket

  • on October 15, 2013, 1:26 GMT

    @albert cambell - what is kallis' average in Sri Lanka and England please. Also tell me what is kallis' average against australia pre 2008. If I use ur logic, then I am surprised u are calling him an alltime great.

  • Greatest_Game on October 15, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    @ Stark62 believes that on " the pitches used against Eng started turning after an hour of play." Yup, that pitch turned so much the non-striker had to take guard!

  • Ibrarhunzai on October 14, 2013, 21:26 GMT

    Cant understand the point Sandeep manjrekar is trying to make. Test cricket is far far ahead of T20.

  • jb633 on October 14, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    @Ryan Stephen, this pitch certainly does not favour SA that is for sure. If SA win here that will be a huge tick for them and much deserved. I was simply correcting a mistaken comment by a SA fan. The pitches against England were turning more than we saw today. That is not an excuse for how shoddy we were and given our spin bowling attack we should really have got something out of that series. I am looking forward to watching SA bowl on this deck and hopefully watch Misbah destroy Peterson again.

  • SurlyCynic on October 14, 2013, 21:08 GMT

    @Sandip Manjrekar : Yes, I enjoy test cricket. If you don't enjoy it then fair enough, no need to watch it or comment. You mention SA batting slowly in Aus to get a draw, but teams have to play the situation. They were behind in that test and they saved it... very tense on day 5 with 8 wickets down. Memorable despite the draw.

    Then in Perth they put on what Ponting called the most dominant display he had seen, including going at 7 an over for an entire session. So yes, "it's easy to point out others".

  • on October 14, 2013, 20:34 GMT

    Already there are English commenters here saying that the pitch turned so much more for them.. and it's only been one day.

    Let's face it, the pitch will always "favour" South Africa, even when they're not winning..

  • on October 14, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    its important for pakistan to clean the trail as soon as possible...young shan masood needs to play well in 1 half an hour as stayn n morkal are gonna come hard at him... lot depend upon openers now...they need to remove the shine on the ball.pak needs to play session by session...

  • kickassPakistan on October 14, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    with all due respect Sir,Mr Ajmal you are a wizard but please take your glasses off while you are bowling,get the hunger in your eye again,the stare you had for the batsmen when you started out for Pakistan showed your intensity and dominance with glasses you feel plastic.Get your heart in and enjoy!

  • on October 14, 2013, 19:49 GMT

    South Africa might be showing signs of weakness as they elected to bat first after winning the toss. We all know 4th innings the ball turns in the UAE and SA wanted to avoid batting in the 4th inning. Although they say are comfortable playing spin I feel this move by SA is a message to PAK that they are vulnerable!

  • on October 14, 2013, 19:46 GMT

    @Albert_cambell

    If Amla got run out earlier, he would be on same course as of your statistics. And no body even compared Dravid or Sachin with ponting, Lara or Kallis here. In fact nobody wrote any about the same. It is useless to drag Dravid, Sachin or BCCI everytime everywhere. Are you watching quality game, then enjoy it rather than punches.

  • EnglishCricket on October 14, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    Not much of a crowd for this game :)

  • on October 14, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    @SurlyCynic

    Are you still sure to say "Just good to see test cricket again, it's been too long. Pretty bored of T20 slogging where losing wickets is almost meaningless."

    What was AB doing? Some one (I believe Greatest_game) predicted about his hunger for triple. I thought he was on course today, certainly not runs but blocking & blocking deliveries. And everyone except you got bored to see SA batting till Duminy arrived. What else he did? Same slogging as like T20. He & Amla started brainless scooping at cover drive, at sweep, over mid-off & mid-on. But later on Amla controlled his inning.

    And what you said.....4-5th Day....Oh no...I couldn't forget SA against Oz in down under....148 overs 248/8 Faf scoring 100 and match drawn. Do you like same way? Of course, You do. But nobody like. Nobody expect Test no.1 should play this way.... exactly opposite the way Aus played when they were no.1. Even ZIM showed aggression against same PAK few weeks ago. It's easy to point out others.

  • darsh127 on October 14, 2013, 19:30 GMT

    @Albert Campbell, Ponting's average in India is 26, Kallis in Bangladesh is 31....Not too sure about Lara's but the point is, not all greats average high in all places making your point pointless. Appreciate the players and stop making useless comparisons.

  • Cricdew on October 14, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    @campbell .....you were talking about Ponting whose avg in India is 26 ,and Kallis average in England is 35,in Bangladesh 31,ya he has above 500 in Zimbabwe(lol),And at last your LARA,he is averaging 33 in India..SO its clear that no great has above 40 average in all continents..SO please first check your knowledge than pointing out the fingure on Dravid and Sachin....I hope you understood by now..Cricinfo please publish

  • on October 14, 2013, 18:39 GMT

    Really good piece of test cricket from both sides (Amla u beauty ). Hope Pak keep SA below 260 and finish em off in the first half an hour or so

  • Shazy777 on October 14, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    @gibbs.175 Sorry to say but Smith is the world class player... He lead the team from front... S.A have no suitable optn for captancy in test... As an opner 110 matches 8753 runs 48.62 avg 59.61 strike rate 26 hundards 37 fifties... what you want more as an test opner??? In Test cricket opneing is very difficiult position... I know Dean Elgar is good player but Smith is out standing...!!!

  • Greatest_Game on October 14, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    @ ZCFOutkast . You were right about nothing, especially Smith. He is the CAPTAIN. Did you miss that point? He is by far the best international skipper today, and still scores big - like against Eng & Aus last year.

    Crowing about an irrelevant comment days ago shows only your desperation to keep grinding your axe. Wait until both teams have batted and performances can be compared. SA's innings is not over.

    By the way, another of your posts illustrates just how out of touch you are. Not one member of this SAteam went to a posh, private school, unlike Monde Zondeki - Dale College, Makhaya Ntini - Dale College, Herschelle Gibbs - Bishops, Wayne Parnell - Grey High … get the picture now? And Thami Tsolekile? He went to Pinelands high School - a vey well off school, & a much better training ground than Merensky Hoër Skool where NO cricket is played. That is where the world's best bowler went. Yes, Steyn went to a school were cricket is not played, but Monde and Makhaya went to Dale College

  • on October 14, 2013, 17:54 GMT

    The problem with Ajmal's fans is that they want him to take 5 wickets in every test innings...

  • PadMarley on October 14, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    Oh yes!!!! test cricket is back!! And finally a series where BCCI has no influence on .. lol !! Honestly doesn't matter who wins, give us some good test cricket. I'm a bit in favor of Pakistan for the sake of balance in international cricket. A formidable bowling attack that was today! Amla is a special player, he will be right at the top ten by the time he retires.

  • Albert_cambell on October 14, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Amla is a way better player than sachin and Dravid. He can score runs on type of wickets, Unlike Sachin and Dravid who scored most of the runs in flat tracks. The funny part is Indian fans try to match Dravid with all time greats like Kallis, Ponting and Lara despite of him Averaging 29.71 in SA and 33.10 in SL.

  • on October 14, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Guys, I don't believe that SA bowling will be as lethal as when we toured, or for that matter match Pakistan's effort today. It will come down to Steyn and Morkel's opening spell and later the use of reverse swing which I think Steyn has developed over the years. In simple words cannot wait to see the SA bowlers bowl on this pitch, and similarly seeing how our batsman cope with it. Good luck to both the teams:)

  • gibbs.175 on October 14, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Hi Sa fans ....Amla showed his skill again, that is why he is the best player in the side. SA in good position but there is a big question over SMITH .Why is he still in the Squad, he has nothing to prove or show on the field, his game been over.....it will be much batter if Smith,himself leave his spot for ELGAAR .Alviro can not do much because a test player have to perform in ODI too.So MR DOMINGO should consider it ,if he really does want to make world cup winner team ....good luck .

  • on October 14, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    with the caliber of SA bowlers and batting prowess of Pakistani batsmen I wud be surprised if pak score more than 200 on this lively pitch.who says use have flat tracks?? this wicket Is perfect for bowlers and nightmare for batsmen. well done amla.best in world alongside cook and pujara.

  • ProdigyA on October 14, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    Expected a much better performance from Ajmal. Guess he is getting old and his fingers are getting tired too soon.

  • SurlyCynic on October 14, 2013, 16:49 GMT

    Just good to see test cricket again, it's been too long. Pretty bored of T20 slogging where losing wickets is almost meaningless.

    And by Day 4/5 this will be seriously tough examination of the batsmen if the pitch keeps deteriorating. Good luck to both sides.

  • on October 14, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    I don't know peoples where coming from about ajmal performance that he is leaking too many runs Come on guys look at his figures 28 overs 6 maiden 57 runs but he is unfortunate not to get more than one wicket because rsa are playing him carefully as he is world class bowler Look at his economy rate and then criticise him Pak team is still best in the world because there is no cricket at home all the cricket is away and they are still performing everywhere in the world I love you PAKISTAN even if you win or lose but I hope and pray you will win GOOD LUCK

  • jb633 on October 14, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    The fans slating Ajaml are ridiculous. The pitch is a first day belter and he tied an end up really well. Ok, he was not on his best form, but that is all you can ask of a spinner on a first day track. At the end of the day he is part of the attack and the fact he was able to keep the economy down led to the collapse of the SA team. In his last series against Zim he got 14 wickets in 2 games and the series before that he took a 10 for in SA along with bowling well throughout. Th guy is proven class and IMO he didn't do a bad job today. People panning Ajmal are probably the same people hammering Misbah even when he keeps scoring runs.

  • heartbreakerz on October 14, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    People who are criticising Ajmal are showing their ignorance...in his last 4 tests he has taken two 10-wkt hauls and today as well when Babar was going for runs, Ajmal kept it tight which helped Babar take those 3 wkts...Ajmal is a champion n he will come good pretty soon..

  • on October 14, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    Who on earth says that Ajmal struggled today?? 28 overs, 6 maidens, 1 wicket with an economy rate of 2.03 against the No.1 team in the world on a 1st day flat wicket of Abu Dhabi....... These would be pretty good figures for the likes Ashwin, Herath, Vettori etc (He's much a better bowler than all these)

  • SyedAreYouDumb on October 14, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Very poor planning of this series... why did they start it during when Eid will be?!

  • on October 14, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    Ajmal has completely lost his sheen, a young bowler needs to be given a chance.

  • Speng on October 14, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Good start by Pakistan. if they can get SA out cheaply and post a good score then it turns into a 2nd innings bowling duel which should give them a good chance. SA is of course missing a decent spinner and they'll have to hope for early wickets as it'll be hard for their pacers to maintain a high output in the conditions. However if SA (i.e. Amla) can put on another 50 it gets hard.

  • Beertjie on October 14, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Spot on @Zahidsaltin on (October 14, 2013, 8:40 GMT). SA would have been skittled if that had hit. Too early to say but hope Pakistan can bat decently and gain a lead.

  • on October 14, 2013, 15:31 GMT

    One of the finest display by PAK in recent times. Irfan & Junaid cracked top 3 of 4, Babar equally supported with tight spell. Surprised to see AB was struggling and literally threw his wicket. But well played Amla. It's Amla V/S PAKISTAN & Amla won the first battle. Amazing to see his wrist work against moving balls and that too in the middle of bat every time. Well played Sir!! SA gor respectable total just because of him. Otherwise I thought I was watching a battle between world no.10 & no.6. Pak has an opportunity to grip on this test with fine batting by Misbah & Younis. I won't be surprised if they repeat as Amla. Shan Masood can also fulfill the high expectations. Hope SA will do perform better in next 4 days which is unlikely. One person is missing here who was instrumental in reaching top position for SA....Gary Kirsten.

  • Desihungama on October 14, 2013, 15:21 GMT

    Pretty naive comments coming in from some fans regarding Ajmal's form. Had Ajmal not created consistent pressure from one end, Zulfiqar Babar might have not gotten his breakthrough wicket. It's all about pressure bowling from an end and Ajmal did that today. Let the pitch turn further and you'd see him coming good. One thing I do believe team mgmt does wrong is over expose Ajmal and play him unnecessarily when he could have been rested and that takes the element of surprise away from him. Impressed with Hashim Amla yet again and by the way how is a miss run out if a batsman reaches the crease before the ball does? Anyway good to see Pakistan on top as opposed to conventional wisdom going into the series. I think they are onto something here....

  • 2nd_Slip on October 14, 2013, 15:07 GMT

    Well bowled Pakistan SA a bit rusty perhaps but its good to see Pak bowlers making a game out of it. Amla as reliable as always and the rest of the batsmen must make amends in the second innings.

  • on October 14, 2013, 14:59 GMT

    Well bowled Pakistan, You will win

  • Stark62 on October 14, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    @ bigdhonifan Did you even watch the game?!?!

    The ball was hardly even turning, until the last hour of the day and that too because of the footmarks created Irfan and Junaid but the spin was only slight.

    Anyway, I was disappointed with the pitch because the pitches used against Eng started turning after an hour of play, whilst this one took nearly a day.

    Lastly, I can't wait to see the finance secretaries nephew in action against Steyn, Vernon and potentially, Morkel (if he is still around).

  • on October 14, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    Guys, please don't mock Ajmal, he always comes big when the team needs him. Give him some time, he will surely perform. Players that I see retiring, are all post WC. Like Misbah, Ajmal, Younis, and maybe Afridi.

  • Ray24 on October 14, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    If Amla had been run out to anyone of the chances, it was 150 for SA, maybe less. Poor on Smith for standing when he had clearly edged it. And good work by Adnan by asking the sleeping Yunus for the ball from slips. Its not that far to be not able to see where the batsmen actually is, just alertness is needed.

  • theprotea on October 14, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    If we can to 270 it will be great. I think our pace trio will get something out of this dead pitch. 2 or 3 wickets in the first half and hour then they'll crumble like they always do.

  • bigdhonifan on October 14, 2013, 14:26 GMT

    So South Africa, welcome to Spinning tracks. How long you will just playin bouncy tracks and call yourself a number one team. The end days result shows that South Africa is not yet good enough playing on Spinning tracks. If there was no Amla, they would have struggles to score even 100. On the other hand Saeed Ajmal shown he is on a decline after 2 years of honey moon, a rank turner and just one wicket against the bad players of spin on earth. Pretty impressed with Zulfiqar and Irfan.

  • BowledYa on October 14, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    Is it just me or does anyone else think Pakistan is short one bowler? I thought we were going to pick Rehman as well due to his big success in Dubai against England. All day we have only bowled the 4 specialists and with Hafeez not in the mix I think these bowlers will be tired by the 2nd innings. Younis can bowl but he is usually only a surprise bowler option.

  • jb633 on October 14, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    @surlycynic, you clearly didn't watch that series v England. The ball turned square pretty much the whole way through the series and Pakistan are lethal in those conditions. It was a great display by Pakistan and if they can get 350 + they will win this test match. It is a big if though.

  • on October 14, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Good day of a good cricket. I'm kinda ok with Pak not finishing them off tdy then they wud hve to bat tmm mrng and that could hve been a disaster. But hopefully we ll get them out within an hour and under 270. Hopefully we ll bat good.

  • SaadRocx on October 14, 2013, 14:04 GMT

    Ajmal should retire with Grace now..he aint doing anything for the team bowling rubbish and leaking too many runs..

  • AllroundCricketFan on October 14, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    Well done again Amla. How many times have this happened ? Amla is the greatest batsman SA has ever produced..... This guy cannot be silenced even though he is the Silent Warrior. HEnce the number 1 in the world.

  • on October 14, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    As much as I love Amla, I must say that he was lucky to survive, after two miss run-outs and an edge that could have easily carried to Misbah. Apart from poor fielding, great bowling by Pakistan. If there is anyone who can challenge this SA batting order...It's Pakistan!. @SLslider, brother AB was out for being lazy, that's all. The play was still active and Pakistan had every right to do what they did. Specially when someone like Smith stays there after clearly edging the ball to play with the technology, knowing there is no hot spot. If anything, this goes against the spirit, not the run-out.

  • on October 14, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    @SLslider I pity on u for the poor knowledge of cricket.if its dead ball just search in youtube for shane thomson cricket runout where u will get clear cut idea.

  • SaadRocx on October 14, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    chechong0114 UAE is not Pakistan home...If the match had been played in Pakistan the Stadium would be JamPacked even in Test Matches...

  • duncanmoo on October 14, 2013, 13:45 GMT

    A bit rusty South Africa? That was a bit of a wake-up for the first day's play, thank goodness for Amla!

  • Master_uv_Puppetz on October 14, 2013, 13:42 GMT

    I was hoping to see Pak bat today :).

    I don't know what has gone into Ajmal. These days he doesn't seem to be the one who's gonna get any top-order wicket :( He really needs to think outside the box and unsettle SA batters.

    Hope Pak reply with a good total and put SA under pressure.

    up the Paks :))))))))))

  • SaadRocx on October 14, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    The Pitch is absolutely a road...A Square turner was expected but instead they prepared a road...its a dry slow wicket..Still Pak managed to take 8 wickets..I reckon If Pak manage to restrict SA under 270 tomorrow them Pak would be the happier of two teams...But need to bat well and aggressive..

  • calcu on October 14, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    It was definetely pakistan's day. If they could win this match against the no.1 side, they will recover from the humilation they faced in zimbabwe. However, they were in a similar position against SA in the 1st test, day 1 of their tour of SA, but they ended up losing the match, so they shouldn't be overconfident.

  • Zahid-Bajwa on October 14, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Gr8 job by Pakistani team at end of day 1

  • SurlyCynic on October 14, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    Well bowled Pakistan and well batted Amla. AB really had a brain freeze with the way he got out, a pity as he had helped rebuild the innings and was just starting to open up. SA would have scored faster if he has stayed in.

    A few balls have really turned already (more than in the series here where Pak beat England) and it's only day 1... going to be difficult to bat on day 4/5.

  • on October 14, 2013, 13:21 GMT

    Good effort by Pakistan. Pitch looked flt early on . Only in evening few balls turned. I would say still even with this score. SA also may not that much disappointed, it was not exceptional batting performance but a satisfactory 1. especially from Amla. He has proved again why he is the best batsman.

    If pak get remaining wickets early on then a new ball in the morning & Philander & Styen will fancy that.

  • cricpanther on October 14, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    Awesome Amla!! Strange to see no good support from other batsman!!! Wake up Skipper and mates!! what makes AB devilers RUN OUT in TEST cricket???

  • Pavinasen on October 14, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    I think in test cricket,ajmal has lost the supprise element & consistent acciuracy and also batsmen can now pick him up easily.In test you have all the time & batsmen that don't know ajmal they will just defend & survive.To me he is still the top wicket taker in ODIs & T20.

  • Pavinasen on October 14, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    What happens to SA without Hamla.SA keeps relying on 1 player to give them a decent score.Being a number test side , they don't look like champions,with the way their batsmen get(barring Hamla) out .In the bowling department only Steyn & Philander gives them hope of bowling out top sides.A team having 3 players that more often than not do the job for them.What happens when batsment are able to counter philanders attack & Steyn looses form with age and Hamla has a bad year.

  • on October 14, 2013, 13:05 GMT

    5 runs by Kallis wasn't expected. Maybe lucky for Pakistan but unlucky for RSA. They were expecting more from him after his 3 months leave but Amla! He has become the dangerman for Pakistan as he is 100* runs . RSA 222/8 and he is still out there with a big score in his book. I am towards Pakistan but Amla's batting... is just way toooooooooooooooooooo... good.

  • mzm149 on October 14, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    Well played Hashim Amla. Today South African batting looked more like Pakistan's. Only one player staying and most of the others playing as pedestrians. Pakistan has edge in this game at this point. The pitch is not that difficult to bat on. If Pakistan somehow gets lead of about 50 or above, it will be difficult for South Africa to beat them.

  • wanatawu on October 14, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    Wow, it does not like there is too many demons in this pitch, just poor shot selections from the South Africans, except Amla. Amla is just pure class, I don't know what they are gonna do without him in the 2nd test.

  • on October 14, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    At last Saeed Ajmal got Philandar. SA are now 8 down.

  • on October 14, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    220 might prove too much for the Paks to reach! Can't wait to see them try!

  • on October 14, 2013, 12:44 GMT

    welll bowled by Pakistan...really happy how they are bowling...amla is a class batsman..he has proved it times and times again....love his temperament...

  • Blade-Runner on October 14, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    Well played, Amla !!! Wow.. what a player. He is the last hope of SA now to post a good total. I hope that he will go on to make a double hundred. Wonderful bowling by Pakistan as well, to pick up 7 wkts already.

  • chechong0114 on October 14, 2013, 12:27 GMT

    A great contest going on between 2 of the biggest and most exciting nations in international cricket and once again the curse of (tons of empty seats) show up at the stadium on the first day of the game. I have been to UAE before and they love the game and cricket and the people know the game very well yet they will not pay to come out to the park and support, what is even worse is that today is a public holiday. Great move by PCB to start the test match on a public holiday bad move by the people to not come out and show better support for their muslim brothers but I wonder how much advertising and prepping is done before the series starts to get people in the know and excited about the every coming test series. I live here in the USA and the NBA season is about to start and there is not a single channel you turn on that is not showing something about the upcoming season cricket is missing this really bad and nations are losing valuable revenue something serious needs to be done soon.

  • on October 14, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Congrats to Amla on century.

  • Mervo on October 14, 2013, 12:14 GMT

    What wrong with Ajmal? He seems to have lost his ability to take wickets these days.

  • on October 14, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    well played by Amla. He is a big player and again proved himself here. Not much happening for spinners and irfan is out of field.Guy needs to work on fitness really

  • on October 14, 2013, 10:54 GMT

    I strongly feel the next session holds the key for both the teams...pak desperately need to get the wicket of Amla

  • on October 14, 2013, 10:46 GMT

    It was with in rules, i dont see where comments like spirit of game coming in? How was it dead ball when they were still appealing.

    Here is an excerpt from the rule book. Does it look like the AB ball wad dead Law 23 - Dead Ball (a) The ball becomes dead when(i) it is finally settled in the hands of the wicket-keeper or of the bowler.(ii) a boundary is scored. iii) a batsman is dismissed. (b) The ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler's end umpire that the fielding side and both batsmen at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play

  • on October 14, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    NOthing much happening for pak at moment. And it is slowly slowly tilting towards SA. and Spinners have not been effective.

  • on October 14, 2013, 10:40 GMT

    It was not a dead ball. Ball was still active. So no matter what batsman thinks he need to be back in . We have seen many time that fielders appealing and then trying a run out.

    Here is an excerpt from the rule book. Does it look like the AB ball wad dead Law 23 - Dead Ball (a) The ball becomes dead when(i) it is finally settled in the hands of the wicket-keeper or of the bowler.(ii) a boundary is scored. iii) a batsman is dismissed. (b) The ball shall be considered to be dead when it is clear to the bowler's end umpire that the fielding side and both batsmen at the wicket have ceased to regard it as in play.

  • jb633 on October 14, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    I really hope this pitch starts to turn as the game goes on here. Pakistan have started well and on this pitch to get 4 wickets is credit to them. They really need to get Amla though because he is the one player who could win the game single handedly.

  • on October 14, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    the pitch is very dry and rsa batsman are playing fantastic cricket!!!!!!!!! can you imagine 131/4! they are the number one test team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!all are rubbish

  • CrICkeeet on October 14, 2013, 10:15 GMT

    Same story.. In the begining Pak bowled well, then hoping 4 smthng gd.. then pak batsmen come 2 bat nd then.... it took only 5-6 overs 2 understand d reality against SA (in test). pacers lyk Vitori Paniangara did enough, nt sure what philandr nd styne r ready 2 do!!!

  • SLslider on October 14, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    This is so against the spirit of the game from Pakistan. ABD was not out as he thought the delivery was completed and had become dead. So he didn't bother to be in the series.

  • on October 14, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    Pak going well.. :D

  • Resultpredictor on October 14, 2013, 9:29 GMT

    World's top two test batsman against the top spinners in the world. What a sight to watch and SA batsman are playing exceptionally well against Ajmal and Babbar.

  • Zahidsaltin on October 14, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    Had it been a South African fielder, Amla had gone run out a long time ago.

  • IndianEagle on October 14, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    fron now on, ajmal holds key against amla, abd, fab.

  • ZCFOutkast on October 14, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Well, I was criticised for being harsh, which probably explains the disappearance of my valid comment, but I hate to say I told you so(http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan-v-south-africa-2013-14/content/story/678445.html?comments=all#usrcomment)

    "Who does Smith think he is. It's a silly management process which requires him to avoid even facing just a few balls considering he's barely done anything in the couple of hits that he's had. What harm can it do? If the precautions are to this extent then he shouldn't have travelled in the first place. Repeat of same madness regarding Steyn&Morkel CT2013&SL tour! Wonder if the same noises that were made about a half-fit Tsotsobe(who excelled) will be made about Smith as well....If Smith goes early and Alviro has a bad series then Pakistan will fancy often having 2 from Amla, rusty Kallis&AB back in the dressing room for less than a 100."

  • wrenx on October 14, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    @Mandu Bharadwaj take it easy, it's a test, not a T20 game. There are 5 days to play and South Africa have quality players all the way down until 11. In the last series, Pakistan hustled South Africa out for a low total in their first innings, and that was pretty much the only time we were on top in the entire 3 tests.

    Shame about Rehman, he's every bit as good as Ajmal, but I'm sure Babar won't let anyone down with his performance

  • Zahidsaltin on October 14, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Strange choices Pakistan makes. It could have been understandable if Shan was selected in the case where Pakistan plays 3 spinners as then Shan could bowl his medium fast to compensate for the missing fast bowler. Now as two fast bowlers are included, Ahmad Shehzad should have been included in the playing 11.

  • on October 14, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Pakistan can harm S.A in the first innings. . but I am afraid of Pakistan's poor batting

  • on October 14, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    I was the first who had believe in PAK capability & it justified by their bowlers. 3 for 56 in 21 overs & without bowling by Ajmal till now.

  • mzm149 on October 14, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    What sort of pitch have the curators prepared. I am fearing Steyn and co. will trouble Pakistan.

  • on October 14, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Good Luck Pakistan :D and Mohammad irfan u r real giant :D

  • on October 14, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    pakistan team looks incredibly new...wonder how will they perform

  • on October 14, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    I also think ahmed was best option as he has got some wickets as well. But may be Shan preferred because he is left handed.

    Baber has got got domestic record better than rehman . But 1st international game so have to wait and see.

    2 wickets down on 19 to fast bowlers.

  • on October 14, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    I also think ahmed was best option as he has got some wickets as well. But may be Shan preferred because he is left handed.

    Baber has got got domestic record better than rehman . But 1st international game so have to wait and see.

    2 wickets down on 19 to fast bowlers.

  • on October 14, 2013, 6:41 GMT

    pakistan team looks incredibly new...wonder how will they perform

  • on October 14, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    Good Luck Pakistan :D and Mohammad irfan u r real giant :D

  • mzm149 on October 14, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    What sort of pitch have the curators prepared. I am fearing Steyn and co. will trouble Pakistan.

  • on October 14, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    I was the first who had believe in PAK capability & it justified by their bowlers. 3 for 56 in 21 overs & without bowling by Ajmal till now.

  • on October 14, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Pakistan can harm S.A in the first innings. . but I am afraid of Pakistan's poor batting

  • Zahidsaltin on October 14, 2013, 8:15 GMT

    Strange choices Pakistan makes. It could have been understandable if Shan was selected in the case where Pakistan plays 3 spinners as then Shan could bowl his medium fast to compensate for the missing fast bowler. Now as two fast bowlers are included, Ahmad Shehzad should have been included in the playing 11.

  • wrenx on October 14, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    @Mandu Bharadwaj take it easy, it's a test, not a T20 game. There are 5 days to play and South Africa have quality players all the way down until 11. In the last series, Pakistan hustled South Africa out for a low total in their first innings, and that was pretty much the only time we were on top in the entire 3 tests.

    Shame about Rehman, he's every bit as good as Ajmal, but I'm sure Babar won't let anyone down with his performance

  • ZCFOutkast on October 14, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    Well, I was criticised for being harsh, which probably explains the disappearance of my valid comment, but I hate to say I told you so(http://www.espncricinfo.com/pakistan-v-south-africa-2013-14/content/story/678445.html?comments=all#usrcomment)

    "Who does Smith think he is. It's a silly management process which requires him to avoid even facing just a few balls considering he's barely done anything in the couple of hits that he's had. What harm can it do? If the precautions are to this extent then he shouldn't have travelled in the first place. Repeat of same madness regarding Steyn&Morkel CT2013&SL tour! Wonder if the same noises that were made about a half-fit Tsotsobe(who excelled) will be made about Smith as well....If Smith goes early and Alviro has a bad series then Pakistan will fancy often having 2 from Amla, rusty Kallis&AB back in the dressing room for less than a 100."

  • IndianEagle on October 14, 2013, 8:36 GMT

    fron now on, ajmal holds key against amla, abd, fab.