Pakistan v South Africa, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 2nd day October 15, 2013

Misbah's fire and fury

Plays of the day from the second day of the first Test between Pakistan and South Africa in Abu Dhabi

The scene-setter

Hashim Amla and the South African tail would have hoped to take the total as close to 300 as possible, but Pakistan put paid to any of those thoughts as early as the second ball, courtesy Mohammad Irfan. After showing how well he could use his feet yesterday, Amla was stuck in his crease as he prodded at one that only just left him and offered a catch to second slip. Younis Khan collected, to become Pakistan's joint record-holder for catches, with Javed Miandad.

The butterflies

To take first strike against the attack lauded as being the best in the world is an anxious experience for any opening batsman, much less a debutant. The first ball Shan Masood faced might only have increased his nervousness. With Dale Steyn focused on pursuing a fuller length, Masood stepped forward and got an outside edge which beat third slip and gully. The result was four runs but the way it came would have served as an indication to Masood about what he would be up against.

The chance

South Africa did not have many of these but Masood presented one in the fifth over when he edged to second slip. Jacques Kallis' usually quick reactions were a milli-second slower and in taking the tiniest bit of extra time to move his hands forward, the ball dropped short and scooted through his legs to give Masood a run and a lifeline.

The crack

Forget tuk-tuk, Misbah-ul-Haq put his first runs on the board with the fire and fury of a sports car. With Morne Morkel trying to generate something special, like the delivery that caught Younis Khan offguard, he went short and wide and Misbah smashed the ball past point. Even from behind the glass windows of the press box, which seem to be insulated from most sounds, the crack was audible. In the field, no one moved, as though they had been stunned by Misbah's aggression.

The celebration

This was only Khurram Manzoor's third Test since making his comeback against Zimbabwe in August and he is quickly making the opening spot his own. He followed up his back-to-back fifties in Harare with a century here and had a fitting celebration to enjoy it. Manzoor lost two of his partners during the last 14 runs needed for his ton and had to slow down. But on 91, he punished Robin Peterson with two strong sweeps, and a push through cover later, he was punching the air as he completed the first run. The 4000-strong crowd were on their feet, applauding and cheering, and Manzoor gave them a prolonged arms-in-the-air pose, before kneeling down in sajda and embracing his captain.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on October 16, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Kind of interesting how everyone is going on about Tendulkar overstaying his welcome when it seems to have slipped under the radar that Misbah is 40 next birthday yet playing very well indeed. Some life in the seniors yet, I think!

  • dummy4fb on October 16, 2013, 3:20 GMT

    We all agree that Steyn is THE STEYN. He is without doubt the best quick in the world today (Irfan rapidly rising to second place). For a player of Steyn's stature to throw the ball at Manzoor is inexcusable. I hope the 3rd umpire takes note of this and docks him his match fee. We expect the best players to exhibit better behaviour than that. Time to bring THE STEYN back in line.

  • orangtan on October 16, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin you are way too pessimistic, the Saffers are very much on the back foot, even a lead of 100-125 should be sufficient... can't see the Saffers getting more than 200 in the 3rd innings against a well-balanced attack of 2 aggressive pacemen and 2 wily spinners. A well-deserved 2-0 victory for the much maligned Pakistan team against the # 1 team will erase the memories of the defeat in Zimbabwe. I feel Pakistan could march up to # 1 as long as the batters continue to play proper Test cricket as Masood and Manzoor have done in this Test and Misbah always does, the Magnificent M's !!

  • Guduji71 on October 15, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    We badly need Umar Akmal at No 6 position. Fawad Alam is another player we should try. I believe if Asad and Azhar do not succeed in the this match then we should give chance to Umar Akmal and Fawad Alam.

  • dummy4fb on October 15, 2013, 20:36 GMT

    The fire & fury comes after Imran Farhat & Hafeez are replaced with Khurram Manzoor & Shan Masood, and Misbah get to play without pressure for a change. Hope Haris Suhail replaces Azhar Ali in the next one.

  • wrenx on October 15, 2013, 17:18 GMT

    @Zahidsaltin Azhar needs time and confidence, he has a well-organised technique and the temperament to succeed in test cricket. He will find his form, I'm sure, he's shown ability that we have desperately lacked in others. Younis didn't throw away the advantage, he got a brute of a ball from Morkel. It wasn't his day, and there's always the second innigns - you can count on Younis Khan to come good at least once per series

  • wrenx on October 15, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    I'm surprised that South Africa didn't learn from England's example last year, and didn't go in with 2 specialist spinners. The cricinfo articles yesterday were quick to criticise Pakistan for not picking another seamer, but clearly Misbah was playing the longer game, and across the test he'll value the extra spinner more than another quick, especially when he's without Hafeez

  • dummy4fb on October 15, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    Defensive tactic from SA to play Robin (Pathetic) Peterson ! ImranTahir would have been much more effective

  • JamesTHEwalldravid on October 15, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    I think you missed the best moment of the day, when Steyn kept trying to intimidate Khurram and even went so fare as throwing the ball at him! but Khurram responded by starring him down and blowing kisses at Steyn. How could you miss that?

  • Extraz on October 15, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    You missed that moment when steyn got frustrated and tried to hit manzoor instead of the stumps and then manzoor gave him some flying kisses...that was great to watch.

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