Pakistan v South Africa 2007-08 / News

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Kaneria's 200 and Pakistan's Twenty20 hangover

Faras Ghani in Karachi

October 2, 2007

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Danesh Kaneria offers a quick prayer after picking up his 200th wicket in Tests © Getty Images
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Good morning, Pakistan
Jacques Kallis played with intent yesterday, scoring his 25th Test century, and taking the game away from the home side. Although he slowed down after reaching his hundred, he started in fifth gear this morning. In one over early on, Mohammad Asif was first guided down past point for a four, then driven, straight-backed to extra cover for another, and finally flicked to square leg for the third boundary of the over. The tone was already set.

Unlucky mate
Kamran Akmal has dropped too many catches recently, especially off Danish Kaneria. He gave Kallis a life yesterday on 36, but when the spinner came round the wicket today, Kallis having added 119, a faint edge was gratefully accepted. Someone quipped, 'caught Akmal' is the unluckiest dismissal in cricket today. The joy was obvious on Kaneria's face; the relief, on Akmal's.

Another catch, more joy
Having dismissed Kallis, Kaneria persisted in exploiting the rough outside the right-hander's leg-stump. However, as he pitched one on the middle to the left-handed Ashwell Prince, it was the lack of spin, and bounce, that resulted in a return catch, held with both hands and a beaming smile. The reason? It was wicket number 200, duly celebrated with fist-pumping and a turf kiss.

Catch of the day
Kallis might have thought his work was done when he was placed at first slip, perhaps aware of Mohammad Hafeez's frailties outside off. Paul Harris was getting sharp turn and bounce and Hafeez, bogged down by an immaculate line and some sharp fielding, tried guiding one such ball past slip. Out shot a diving right hand, however, and duly followed a walk to the pavilion, Kallis taking a startling catch inches off the ground. He went on to take a wicket as well; not bad for a 31-year old not deemed right for his country's Twenty20 squad.

The way the pitch crumbles
Hashim Amla made it clear on the first day that this was a crumbling pitch and will only deteriorate more as time goes on. Younis Khan knows exactly what he means after he was dismissed by Andre Nel. Pitched at a three-quarter length, the ball should have easily gone over the stumps. Instead, it crashed into the lower half of the middle stump, Younis almost doubled over. With one Paul Harris ball crashing into Mark Boucher's mouth, it isn't going to get any easier.

Are we in South Africa still?
Akmal and Hafeez were blazing away as Pakistan reached 52 for no loss after 10. It was, by far, their best start at the ICC World Twenty20 ... except of course, this wasn't Twenty20. With Akmal racing to 42 off 34 balls, it was easy to forget this was a Test match. When Misbah-ul-Haq later chased and edged a ball so wide, he did forget. Of course, paddling it over fine leg was an option, but clearly no one heard Shoaib Malik's reminder that this was a Test match not a Twenty20.

Faras Ghani is an editorial assistant on Cricinfo

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