Pakistan v South Africa, 2nd Test, Dubai, 3rd day October 25, 2013

South Africa in control, but hit by ball-tampering penalty


Pakistan 99 and 132 for 4 trail South Africa 517 (Smith 234, de Villiers 164, Ajmal 6-151) by 286 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

South Africa's march towards a result that will draw the series and prolong their seven-year unbeaten record away from home continued unabated, but the gloss on their seemingly impeccable performance was lost when the on-field umpires penalised them for tampering with the ball. Graeme Smith's team ended the third day needing six wickets to complete an emphatic victory - probably by an innings considering Pakistan were still trailing by 286 with two days remaining - but the likelihood of a meeting with the Match Referee loomed large as the sun set in Dubai.

The incident occurred two overs after tea, before the start of the 31st over, following television visuals of one player rubbing the ball allegedly on the zipper of his trouser pocket. The umpires Ian Gould and Rod Tucker called Graeme Smith over for a chat and subsequently changed the ball and awarded a five-run penalty against South Africa, sanctions that are consistent with the penalty for unlawfully changing the condition of the ball. A second television visual showed another player allegedly picking at the side of the ball with his finger.

On either side of that unsavoury episode, however, South Africa made strides towards victory, albeit not at the pace at which they had shut Pakistan out of the Test over the first two days. After South Africa were dismissed for 517 with a lead of 418, 16 minutes before lunch, Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander punched Pakistan in the gut by dismissing their openers in their only overs before the break.

Steyn swung the ball back into Shan Masood's front pad and the left-hand batsman continued Pakistan's lousy use of reviews by wasting one on an lbw that was plumb. Philander then handed Khurram Manzoor his first pair in Test cricket; the right-hand batsman hung his bat outside off stump and watched Jacques Kallis dive to his right at second slip to take the catch at head height. Pakistan were 2 for 2.

After lunch, Younis Khan and Azhar Ali focused on survival. Steyn swung and seamed the new ball away from the right-handers; Philander bowled with unrelenting accuracy; Morne Morkel hit speeds off 149.6 kph - the fastest ball of the Test - in his first over. With four slips and other catches in place, there were gaps to exploit on the huge outfield but only 18 runs were scored in the first 13 overs. One of Tahir's legbreaks spun so viciously from the rough around off stump that it went straight to first slip.

Azhar and Younis, however, survived all that until Smith brought on the part-time offspinner JP Duminy ten minutes before tea. His first ball spun sharply into Azhar and kept low to hit the back pad just in line with off stump. In an instant, a vast amount of hard graft had come undone and Pakistan were 48 for 3. Duminy could have struck in his second over, too, but Kallis failed to catch an outside edge from Younis off the penultimate ball before the break.

Younis' composure, which had served him well through the second session, disappeared soon after the tampering incident, when he charged Tahir and attempted a mow across the line. He missed and the ball bounced off his pad on to his stumps. At 70 for 4, Pakistan were in danger of sliding further towards defeat but Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq put on an unbeaten 62-run stand. Shafiq was fortunate to survive a stumping chance on 18 off Duminy, and Pakistan will need a miraculous performance from him and the rest to prevent an innings defeat.

The third day had begun with promise of more records being broken, with Smith resuming on 227 and de Villiers on 157. However, with the job already done unlike when they had come together early on the second day, their stroke-play wasn't as tight.

De Villiers began to drive at Mohammad Irfan from the start, but a ball after he placed one to the straight boundary, he drove again and edged. This time Adnan Akmal caught it, 164 runs and 273 deliveries after he should have caught de Villiers first ball. Irfan had now worked up a brisk pace and soon drew an edge from Smith. Akmal dropped it again, and Irfan told the wicketkeeper just what he thought of that effort. The mistake did not cost Pakistan, though, because Ajmal had Smith caught at slip a ball later, leaving South Africa 478 for 6.

What followed made Pakistan wonder about the different paths this match might have taken had Akmal not dropped de Villiers before he had scored. Irfan ran in from over the wicket and tormented Duminy with deliveries that pitched on a good length outside off stump and jagged into the left-handed batsman. Three times in a row, Irfan struck Duminy on the pad and bellowed appeals for lbw. He was denied each time because the impact was too high.

In his next over, after hitting Faf du Plessis on the glove, Irfan took the umpire out of the equation by bowling Duminy between bat and pad with a fuller delivery. He celebrated with vigour, but in his next over - the innings' 149th - Irfan ran out of rope the umpires had given him by following through on the danger area once again. He was suspended from bowling further in the innings.

With Irfan lost, and Junaid Khan blunt, Ajmal was the only threat and du Plessis steered South Africa past 500 and the lead past 400. Ajmal gradually worked his way through the tail to pick up a six-wicket haul, but the end of South Africa's innings provided little relief for Pakistan.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    @Posted by SJRN on (October 25, 2013, 23:20 GMT): those kisses were in 1st innings of 1st match and he was on top in that innings by scoring 146 match winning runs and denying Steyn for almost all his innings and he was not bowled by Steyn in that innings.

    @manu566: pakistan is 4th ranked team. yes they are poor at times but performing in between that is why they are in middle of ranking tables ( 4-6 ) for such a long time.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    So, how many of you still want Shafiq booted out? I get so disheartened with Pakistani fans who unnecessarily go after him, and some others.

  • Dummy4 on October 26, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    Hmm when Pakistan wins everyone is praising the team local media runs patriotic songs starring team members there is so much hype created but when the team loses all of a sudden there is a clean up call so called cricket experts who were praising the team just another day now wants same team changed entirely huh

  • Manoj on October 26, 2013, 3:08 GMT

    First pakistan lost to zim now bowled out for 99 in their homeground. Pakistan test team is looking downhill. In my opinion now Bangladesh test team is better than pakistan.

  • SYED on October 25, 2013, 23:20 GMT

    I am not sure if Khurram Manzoor learnt at all to not to disrespect or disregard the most consistently performing fast bowler in test cricket. I wonder what would he be thinking now by looking at those kisses he flew towards DS in his centurion inning!

  • Nix on October 25, 2013, 21:28 GMT

    Its amazing how people can't accept the fact that SA is the number one team, I go through the list of comments and its incredible to see all the "ifs" and "buts", and how you people argue to justify the fact that SA is actually not that good. The fact is, SA are crushing all their opponents and winning almost all their matches by and innings. No matter what you say, the point is SA are winning and it doesnt matter how you choose to analyse the situation or break it down, these guys are winning all the time. If you know cricket then you will appreciate how good they are and stop trying to find excuses.

  • Dummy4 on October 25, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    I am disappointed the way Khurrum manzoor got out in the match. It seems like he had no idea about his off stump. If he want a good test batsman than he must learn Art of leaving the ball no doubt he is the best available young opener in the country at the moment. He has almost each and every ingredient to become a world class opener. I saw Khurrum & Shan was leaving the outside off stumps balls regularly in the ist inning of abu Dhabi match that's why they able to bat long but after that inning they chase every ball outside off stump and had to pay price. Taufeeq is number 1 choice for test opener but unfortunately he has some fitness issues hopefully he will be making his come back In series against Srilanka in December.He and Khurrum can form a valuable test opening pair for Pakistan if give sufficient opportunity in future. shan need to spend 3,4 more seasons in domestic to claim his place in the side he is not impressive as manzoor is.

  • Ali on October 25, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    South Africa is number one team because this is their time and on paper both teams are matchless. Pakistan is in transition Phase for last three years and could not bring stability in the batting lineup and bowling lineup.

    We do not have depth in batting lineup we play with 6 batsman while SA plays with 7 batsman we are bowler short. We could sort out opener problem, wicket keeper/batsman problem and could not groom decent allrounder.

    Ajmal is a greatest bowler Pakistan for Pakistan but over burdening him has lowered the confidence of young fast bowlers. Pakistan have not produce any fast bowler of wasim, imran and waqar and shoiab caiber. Pakistan has lost the pace bowl attack. I still believe we need three pace bowlers and ajmal should back them.

  • binu on October 25, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    PAK should include more youngsters in their team,specially top order include some under 19 players,Let Misbah lead this young lot, you already have good bowling attack -from India

  • Price on October 25, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    Be surprised if they don't go for Smith. It would be typical of the way SA is treated in these circumstances. After all if you are Atherton or Tendulkar you are untouchable. And could we also have some slomo close ups while Pakistan is in field and when the ball starts reversing?