South Africa v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Cape Town, 2nd day February 15, 2013

Irfan's big moment

Plays of the Day from the second day of the Newlands Test between South Africa and Pakistan

Catch of the day
Pakistan's batsmen were struggling against the new ball and probably didn't want too much else to think about but that was not all they had to contend with. Alviro Petersen added to their woes at the start of the day with a piece of superb fielding that will go down as one of the moments of the series. Sarfraz Ahmed was the last recognised batsman but even he was uncertain against Vernon Philander, pushing at one and getting an outside edge. Petersen moved to his right, stuck a hand out and caught the ball inches off the ground to leave Sarfraz in disbelief that he had been dismissed.

Novelty sighting of the day
South Africans have been waiting for a few weeks to see Mohammed Irfan in action, out of curiosity at what someone taller than Morne Morkel would look like. He did not play in the Wanderers Test and when Graeme Smith chose to field first, it meant at least another day of waiting. Irfan finally had his moment, with bat in hand, seven minutes before the scheduled lunch and delivered on all the novelty value he promised. He looked almost twice as tall as Saeed Ajmal and AB de Villiers and stood head, shoulders and waist above the rest. His first shot was as aggressive as expected as he looked to swipe over mid-on but missed completely.

Team-mates tussle of the day
With a second collapse against the new ball in full swing, it was understandable that Pakistan's batsmen were getting tetchy. Tanvir Ahmed appeared the most irritable. When Umar Gul was given out lbw against Philander, he wanted to consult with Tanvir but the No. 8 wanted no part in it. He turned his back on Gul and walked away from the non-striker's end. He only turned to address to his colleague once Gul had asked for the referral. Tanvir did not seem happy with that at all and the two held a heated discussion in the middle while the third umpire reviewed the decision and upheld the on-field call.

Body blow of the day
Saeed Ajmal was brought on in the 12th over of the South Africa innings but the damage was not immediately sustained by the batsman. Alviro Petersen swept his third delivery straight on to short leg Azhar Ali's knee and the fielder went down as concerned team-mates converged. Petersen joined the group to check on Azhar but Graeme Smith was not overly concerned. Azhar was treated on-field and a drinks break was taken but he has back under the helmet immediately aftewards.

Catch of the day II
If there was any pain lingering in Azhar's knee to hamper his movement, he didn't show it and gave Petersen some of his own treatment. When Petersen played Ajmal on to his pad, in an attempt to glance the ball down to fine leg, Azhar responded as quickly as Petersen had earlier. He moved forward quickly to pouch the ball one-handed in front of him and Petersen did not hesitate a moment in walking off.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ahsan on February 16, 2013, 8:03 GMT

    Imagine the scorecard of the world #1 team look like; if pakistan's all first choice bowlers -Amir, Asif, Junaid, Rehman - besides Ajmal, Hafeez were playing this match/series (like SA's line-up) ...

  • Orang on February 16, 2013, 7:00 GMT

    @Hawkseyefocused, you are dead right, the umpires are making one mistake after another, be they on-field umps or third ump., for that matter who is to say that ball-tracking of hawkeye is correct, how can it possibly assess the degree of spin and bounce given that each delivery is spun in different degrees. Think it's all nonsense. just rely on good umpires and forget DRS

  • Fajar on February 16, 2013, 6:40 GMT

    Irfan's madness needs method. He needs to be educated about how to get a batsman out with insight. Needs to read the batsman's mind well. He has pace and bounce. Needs to focus on consistent line, length and swing.

  • Hawks on February 16, 2013, 6:05 GMT

    Some people are still hitting their heads against the wall on the Kalis's being given out! To cut the matter short, he was given out and whether it fair/unfair decision! Steve Davis is undoubtedly a biased umpire and notorious for giving decisions against Pakistan team. It's more clumsy decision by saying that saying sorry on Kalis's dismissal. This shows the pathetic and biased side of the ICC, which has double standards. Where was ICC when YK was given out or Steve Davis gave 4 wrong decisions against Pakistan!!!

  • Rizwan on February 16, 2013, 5:22 GMT

    Irfan's big moment came and gone and no one even got to notice it. Only thing special bout him is his height but that doesn't make a special or gifted bowler. To start with, he doesn't have a piercing pace, and despite having a fairly simple bowling action, he's not capable to produce seam bowling, can't move the ball around, just a simple throw being augmented by his height. Once a batsman gets hold of his line, he's toast. Look at how disdainfully he got spanked all around the wicket even by indian batsmen. Second, even bigger issue is his age. He's making debut at 30! a fast bowler needs usually 3-4 yrs to hit prime form and by 30, they're settling into a particular form ready to cut down pace a bit and early 30s' they have lost a part of their sheen & shine. PCB always has this habit of betting on the wrong horse - no far sighted longterm planning, instead just try to get a small limelight for superficial reasons.

  • Ishrat on February 16, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    @orangtan that's a first buddy. You are challenging his action. Accept that he is good and move on. Wish we had played Rehman and Junaid was in the mix as well. The batters needed the confidence they got from this pitch. The home team is under a bit of kosh for the first time this summer

  • Dummy4 on February 16, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    this match may tie if rsa scored about 250 plus

  • Harris on February 16, 2013, 3:39 GMT

    Only 250 needed in last innings for South Africa to fall apart against Pakistan. Must say Pakistan have fought back with blows after blows through out the first & second day & porteas have no idea where to hide. As for the trio of Styen, Philander & Morkel for me only is Styen is a world class act while philander & morkel will be murdered in subcontinent pitches as it was shown when pitch stops assisting & shine on ball is gone even tail enders can smack them around the park. Thinks what subcontinent batsmen will do on the pitches of Lahore, Mumbai, Dhaka & Gale.

  • Orang on February 16, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Ajmal stands head and shoulders above any other spinner in the world, remarkable that he can extract spin and bounce on the 2nd day of a Test, he will be unplayable in the 4th innings. But, and it's a big but, is his action legal ? ICC doesn't have the guts to make tough calls !!

  • Shulz Van on February 15, 2013, 23:10 GMT

    SA have created a pitch supporting Ajmal very sporting indeed from SA. Very few would do it. Great to see a close battle unlike the first test. Great come back from Pak but the test is not over yet. Devilliers can get quick runs on the board and SA has the ability to bowl a team out for cheap. We r no 1 for a reason. But if Pak can get Devilliers early tomorrow and bowl SA out within 200 and score 250 runs in the second innings only then they have a chance. Which is possible. I hope Pak returns the favour of creating sporting pitch for Steyn in UAE.

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