Pakistan v SA, 1st Test, Abu Dhabi, 4th day October 17, 2013

Ajmal rewarded, Akmal redeemed

Plays of the Day from the fourth day of the first Test between Pakistan and South Africa

Doosra of the day
Saeed Ajmal knew he would be able to test South Africa's lower order with his wrong'un and he did so on several occasions. The most eye-catching of them came early on, when he bowled one to nighwatchman Dale Steyn from around the wicket. The ball fizzed past the outside edge of the bat and had Steyn completely foxed. Adnan Akmal might have been too because he launched into a vociferous appeal for caught behind, although the ball had missed absolutely everything.

Catch of the day
Just as Faf du Plessis was starting to frustrate Pakistan with his stoic style of resistance, Ajmal produced a blinder to get rid of him. Du Plessis drove back towards Ajmal, who had to reach low down to his right to take the catch. Ajmal reacted quickly, stepping in the correct direction just in time and stretching as far as he could to end du Plessis pained stay in the middle.

Mistake of the day
Pakistan have hardly put a foot wrong in this match but as the South Africa tail kept them in the field, they started making a few. Akmal committed the most glaring error, dropping Robin Peterson on 46 to deny Ajmal the breakthrough. Peterson was tentative against spin early one but settled nicely. When he moved back to cut Ajmal, he got a faint edge but Akmal could not hold on. Ajmal only stared darkly in irritation.

Redemption of the day
Seven balls later, Akmal made up for his blunder - but he almost did not. Vernon Philander got a thick outside edge to an Ajmal ball that turned into him. The edge nearly had the better of Akmal who saw the ball pop out of his hand on first take. He juggled, no doubt anxiously, before securing his fingers around the ball and taking Pakistan to within one wicket of chasing a small total.

Celebration of the day
Perhaps in the assumption that he would not have to come out to bat and score the winning runs, Ajmal celebrated the final wicket as though the Test match had been won. Morne Morkel presented him with a straighforward chance, a leading edge and an easy catch. Ajmal stood mid-pitch, arms spread, back bent, chest puffed out and let out an almighty roar while the crowd joined in. This result is big for Pakistan and that expression illustrated just how big.

Nervous moment of the day
Being on the verge of an upset of this magnitude would have generated nerves of excitement for Pakistan but few would have believed it would leave them on 9 for 3. When Shan Masood and Azhar Ali were undone by a decent ball and a loose shot it may have been seen as par for the course but when Khurram Manzoor was drawn into a drive, it seemed the impossible may become possible. South Africa celebrated the scalp with glee, with AB de Villiers particularly vocal, while the partisan crowd went quiet with worry. The hush that descended over the ground reflected the disbelief that Pakistan could self-destruct from such a position of strength and was only eased by the presence of Pakistan's Mr Reliable, Misbah-ul-Haq walking out to calm things down.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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