Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 2nd day October 24, 2013

Smith plans more pain for Pakistan


South Africa are not done yet. Graeme Smith has promised they will keep piling on the runs to try and set up a series-levelling innings win over Pakistan.

With Smith and AB de Villiers both well set and JP Duminy and Faf du Plessis to come, the South African captain said he wants to occupy the crease for the best of its batting time before putting Pakistan back in. "Ideally we want to bat once and allow the wicket to deteriorate a little more. It's pretty dry at the moment," Smith said.

"The goal for today was to get ourselves into a winning position. Our innings was still in the balance when Dale went. But then the way AB transferred pressure made my life easier and we are in a good position now. We've got to come out tomorrow and work ourselves into a position where we feel we can win the game."

Smith said he does not have a total in mind where that position will be reached just yet. With the lead already at 361, South Africa are likely to continue batting past an advantage of 450 which will require Pakistan to bat better than they have in over a year to save the match. The last time Pakistan scored in excess of 450 was against Sri Lanka in June last year but Mohammad Akram, their bowling coach, has reason to believe they can do it again.

"Winning the toss and batting first showed we were confident this was a batting pitch and will play very well for the next three days. The batsmen are optimistic they are can apply themselves as and bat for as long as possible in the next innings," he said.

Those words will not provide much solace to Pakistan fans who will wonder why, if Pakistan were so certain of batting out a long period, they imploded for 99 on the first day. Akram had no explanation for the dramatic turnaround from the way they played in Abu Dhabi.

"That has been the case for a long time and we do accept that," he said. "We are working on a lot of things and trying to overcome it but at the moment, that's how it is."

Akram's words are not that of a fighting man and one can hardly blame him for his slumped shoulders. His bowlers lacked the bite they did in the first Test and the few chances they created - like the one to have de Villiers caught off the first ball he faced - were squandered. Akram did not lay blame on his under-pressure attack, though. "The bowlers tried their best, especially Mohammad Irfan," he said.

Irfan bowled in the upper 140kph range throughout the day and ensured the South Africa batsmen were kept on the toes even though he had little reward. Irfan took the only wicket of the day and should have another in de Villiers, but instead Pakistan were made to toil. "When AB de Villiers is dropped, he makes you pay. It's very difficult to stop his runs on a batting wicket," Akram said.

He did not think there was a lack of ideas or an over-reliance on Saeed Ajmal just a case of unhelpful conditions and a batting line-up that came good. "In Abu Dhabi, it wasn't only Saeed Ajmal, everybody chipped in. The wicket was really good and both the players who were batting there are great cricketers," he said.

Smith agreed that South Africa were bound to get better after the 249 they made in the first innings of the first Test and was pleased to see how swiftly they turned their approach around. "We had to improve from there. 90% of the time this batting line-up produces the goods," he said. "I felt we were a little soft in Abu Dhabi but we've had some good chats, worked on a few things like reverse swing and it paid off."

Now he wants to see his bowlers tighten the screws and finish Pakistan off. First, though, there's a bit more batting to do.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ali on October 25, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    He truely is a great of the game. Far better than Kallis. Lift his Team against good Bowling attacvks unlike kallis. Well played Smith. Hope to see much more from you in future.

  • Andrew on October 25, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    @Nawaz Ahmad - at 2/2 at lunch, I'd say a series win for Pakistan is beyond any miracle. Sad but true.

  • Shulz Van on October 25, 2013, 8:54 GMT

    @ Samee0325....I dont think anyone with a minimum cricket IQ would agree with u on Pakistan drawing this Test Match...This is South Africa not India or England . So the only way Pakistan can draw this match if God sends shower from Heaven. So Praying is the last resort.

  • Muhammad Abdul on October 25, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Pakistan will draw this test match :)... how many of you agree with me?

  • Taqi on October 25, 2013, 6:11 GMT

    Well played Smith and AB. Great batting. For Pakistan I do not understand the timing of announcement of one day squad. At one hand some players are perform and win the test and just before start of 2nd test they announce one day squad with 7 new players. In the first match Khurram and Shan were avoiding outgoing deliveries and in second inning they play like as they have never played first inning. The timing of announcement of squad was very bad as half of the team including Khurram, Shan, Younus, Azhar, Adnan and Zulfiqar. They all must be very disheartened. Only Younus could give words to his anger. Its natural. Pakistan management always does that. Announce team after finishing the test/ one day series then announce team for 2nd format. If time is required for making traveling arrangements then announce names of 22 players have their traveling documents ready and as soon as one format is completed announce team for 2nd format.

  • Andrew on October 25, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    This wicket is not a 99 all out pitch ... Pakistan will bat better second time around ... but even 361 is hard to chase down ... but then records are meant to be broken ... Smith is one to try beat records as shown when he got 277 ... The then highest score by a South African ... That mark is now 311 thanks to Amla, who cannot defend it in this match ... Now Smith is on 227 that leaves another 85 to break it ... Then maybe he can think of 401 ...another 175 away ...

  • yuvraj on October 25, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    Looks like Smith wants to break laras 400 not out record. Its quite possible with this test match having 3 more days of play. If we declare on the morning session of 4th days play. We can still bowl Pakistan out.

  • Arvind on October 25, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    Thanks to Pakistan's pathetic performance with bat, ball, and in the field, SA now have the rare opportunity to get a 400 and a 300 in the same innings. SA should bat till Smith gets his 400, and ABD gets his 300, which is about another 320 runs, which can be easily scored in a day's time. Then if they choose, they can bat for another 3 hours on Day 4, get to 1000 (another record), and still have 9 hours left to bowl out Pakistan, whose morale by now should be ground into a thick paste.

  • MOHAMMED on October 25, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    This test is SA answer to the lost first test. I want Smith to pile on runs at a faster rate and add agony to this ailing Pak side so that they can remember for decades and never aim for victory against SA in test cricket. SA has took one of the most dangerous revenges ever in the history of test cricket that no one can ever think of.

  • Dummy4 on October 24, 2013, 23:09 GMT

    So far now, it is squarely South Africa's game. But let's be fair, questionable field decisions can take a life out of the game, and worst the dreams of new comers pitched against some unrealistic odds. De Villier, Pakistan's tormentor, years back on the same ground (?) through complements of the field referee carried his score to 278 n/o. And yesterday, it could have been different. Smith, not till long, has been the best opener have gone yesterday as on other occasions. Infect he is floundering. Over time it does happen through fitness, fatigue, expectations taking their own toll with age. Does he want a triple; it could be great land mark to add. For the fumbling Pakistan, once a batting power house, is now struggling at the back of couple of retiring old timers. But for now, credit South Africa for what they are...

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