Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 1st day October 23, 2013

Reviews gone wrong

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

Hasty reviews of the day
South Africa did it when they asked for a review for a catch against Azhar Ali, correctly given not out because it had come off his arm to be looked at by the third umpire and Pakistan returned the favour by dispensing off both their reviews before five overs had been bowled. Mohammad Irfan thought he had Graeme Smith out lbw in the third over but the on-field call went against him. On review, it was just clipping leg stump and the decision remained not out. Then, Pakistan reviewed again, only two overs later, when Irfan was convinced Alviro Petersen had nicked a ball that rose on him. Although the ball was close to bat and glove, there was neither sound nor deviation and without hotspot, Pakistan's hasty use of technology appeared a waste in hindsight.

Surprisingly modest celebration of the day
Imran Tahir and boisterous celebrations are known to go together but it seemed something had changed when he did not bring one out for this first wicket. After starting off bowling too full, he looked unthreatening until he bowled Shan Masood with a ball that turned into him from around the wicket, took the inside edge and hit the stumps after a few bounces. Masood seemed surprised that his watchful start had been undone in such a modest fashion and so did Tahir. Mere high-fives marked his first scalp on his comeback.

More exuberant celebration of the day
Four overs later there were glimpses of the Tahir of old. His googly had Misbah-ul-Haq playing down the wrong line and trapped low down on his front pad. The Pakistan captain, in nothing more than hope, asked for a review but while he did that, Tahir had made his way to short fine leg, with his team-mates in toe. It wasn't the full-blooded war cry he has made his own but some of the childlike glee was starting to re-emerge.

The Tahir we know moment of the day
And three balls later, the familiar Tahir was out in full force. Adnan Akmal, a member of the family Tahir was close to when he was in Pakistan, was beaten by a quicker ball which clipped leg stump. As lunch was declared, Tahir took off past square leg, arms spread and fists pumping. The rest of the South Africa squad looked on, some tried to keep up but most waited for him to stop. When he did, he emphatically grabbed his protea badge, blew kisses to his wife Sumayya and leapt up to slap Morne Morkel's hand. Joy knew no boundaries then.

Runs of the day
There weren't too many to speak of in the Pakistan innings and South Africa also found the going slow but will remember the boundary Smith scored at the start of the 37th over. Saeed Ajmal, who was handled with relative ease, bowled a half-volley, Smith stepped out to drive and pushed it down the ground for a well-timed four. The boundary had double relevance. It gave the South African captain a half-century, putting to rest questions about his form given the amount of time he has had out of the game, and put South Africa in the lead.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dazzling_Devil on October 24, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    @Shoaib Khan - Please note, if it is "Umpire's Call", the Umpire CAN change the decision he made before. This is much better than letting DRS decide Out / Not-Out in marginal decisions.

  • Fijicricket on October 24, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    Doctored pitches wont work against the world champions, period!

  • dummy4fb on October 23, 2013, 20:49 GMT

    @SurlyCynic Thanks for explaining me how it works but my point was that there should be a consistency in umpiring decisions,as I feel that benefit of doubt went against Pakistan in both cases when they were bowling and batting. So by finishing Umpire call and giving out(or Not out) on basis of hawk eye will make the umpiring decisions more consistent .

  • AhaanSM on October 23, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Tahir!! And his celebrations!!! Just wonder whether he is normal when he gets a wicket. Just gets too excited. And, till where the Pakistanis are concerned, don't be so unhappy. They are clearly dominant in Test Cricket according to an ICC article on ICC Ranking which said that above 130 points shows clear dominance in the format.

  • dummy4fb on October 23, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    Gould is a TERRIBLE umpire, why let a guy who need glasses and cant see properly umpire. I also remember is terrible decision giving Akmal out in and ODI in England which lost us the game. Oh and they weren't slow in raising their fingers when we were batting in the first innings.

  • SurlyCynic on October 23, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    @Shoaib Khan - If there was no DRS then every decision would be an 'umpire call'! The point is that the predictive path has a margin of error, so the umpire can only be overruled if it is 100% certain the ball hit/missed the stumps. If it is marginal then it is right that the decision stays with the umpire.

  • Ahmad1121 on October 23, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Not a fan of Tahir although as him being a Pakistan Native I am proud of him for playing professionally. But his overly excited jubilation seems fake, it's like he is just trying to fit in still. It's totally Un SouthAfrica like, he is still in South Asian mindset and trying to fit in with his teammates. Good for him though taking 5 wickets, I'm sure Pakis will play him better in next innings.

  • dummy4fb on October 23, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    I think Pakistan was hard done by the umpiring too as quite a few umpire calls(in DRS) went against them. In my opinion there shouldn't be NO umpire calls ...either DRS should be designed to give marginal decisions as NOT OUTS or OUTS ,whichever ICC think is better for the game of Cricket . Because these umpire calls leave the bad taste in mouth for the disadvantaged party.

  • SurlyCynic on October 23, 2013, 14:37 GMT

    When SA toured Aus and drew the first test, Kirsten came in for a lot of criticism for the preparation of the team. Since Domingo has taken over, both tours (SL & UAE) have seen SA start terribly, and then improve dramatically - sure signs of bad preparation. Given the different pitches on the subcontinent and in the UAE, SA need more time to adjust there not less.

    And on this tour, as soon as SA arrived in the UAE Domingo said Peterson would play and not Tahir. Plenty of us questioned that on here, given the need for a wicket-taking spinner, and have now been proved right. They may have worked together in the past but the team has to come first at this level.

    So I have to ask - where is the criticism of Domingo, given the bad decisions he has been making?

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