South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Centurion, 1st day February 22, 2013

Younis' well-timed interception

Plays of the Day from the first day of the third Test in Centurion

Catch of the day
Pakistan have had some inspirational moments in the field on this tour, and another one came when Younis Khan gave the debutant Ehsan Adil his first Test wicket. With his third ball, Adil forced Graeme Smith to play at one on a good length and drew an outside edge that popped up towards the slips. Misbah-ul-Haq was lining up to take it at first slip, and the ball would have carried to him, but Younis dived to his right from second and got to it. Had he not held it, Misbah may have been angrier, but the result only left him smiling.

Shot of the day
South Africa scored at almost four runs to the over for much of the first two sessions and even though they lost wickets, the day was punctuated with glorious shots. Faf du Plesiss played one of the best, a straight drive past Adil that the debutant should have taken a photograph of, because if you're going to get hit, that's the way to experience it. Du Plessis elbow position was perfect as he pounced on an overpitched ball and sent it to the boundary with a caress.

Beamer of the day
Mohammed Irfan was expected to be a danger on a pitch that offered some assistance to the quicks. His most threatening delivery, however, didn't touch the surface. Midway through his 11th over, Irfan bowled a high full toss at AB de Villiers, who went down on all fours as he tried to avoid it. The bowler was the first to apologise and Younis even gave the batsman a hug to make sure he was okay.

Save of the day
As the day grew long, Pakistan could be forgiven for losing their enthusiasm but one man who did not was Irfan. Vernon Philander has his eye in and drove sweetly against Azhar Ali. The ball beat Irfan at mid-on but he chased it to edge of the boundary and back-heeled the ball further infield. It was a move a footballer would be proud of. However, unable to stop his momentum, Irfan went tumbling into the boards, taking one almost of its base and getting himself tangled up in it. Irfan laughed the clumsiness off and he had reason to: he had saved the boundary. It wasn't elegant but it was effective.

Guests of the day
SuperSport Park's most well known function is the annual Ladies' Day, held on the first day of a Test. It's an affair of pomp and ceremony in which the women are encouraged to dress in their best and stand to win an array of prizes. The biggest one is perhaps the chance to have a photograph taken with one of the players. This year, they had double the fun. Instead of only a player from the South African team, they were paid a visit by one from each side. Morne Morkel was joined by Umar Gul for tea-time entertainment.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on February 23, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    I m just highly amazed of Pakistan's selection policy here. If Jamshed didn't survived then how can a technically incorrect batsman like Farhat can survive against Philander and Steyn's caliber?? He may score few runs but his technique is better suited to the limited overs game... They should have promoted Azhar ali to the top and have included Faisal Iiqbal in the middle order at first place.. I liked this step of giving the ball to 3 new bowlers and out of which Rahat lived up the expectations to the fullest and Ehsan Adil had a decent outing as well on a debut but IRFAN certainly is not looking a test match material at all because the way he bowls the amount of variation in his line is best suited in odis and t20s but not in the tests...Even the likes of Sami and Sohail Tanvir could have done much better then Irfan here.... Bold step of not including Rehman despite of bowling good in the practice games....

    One Man to pick for Pakistan from this tournment... Asad Shafique..

  • Suraj on February 22, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    Incomplete Squad Hurt Pakistan.Its selectors Fault to Pick only 5 Bowlers For Long Tour...

  • Dummy4 on February 22, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    poor stuff from pakistan. Looks like they havent got any option left as tanveer flopped in 2nd and gul/junaid unfit. going in with 3 new bowlers vs SA in SA is a strange thing. and it is work of selection committee that what they selected for. Many things were written that ehsan is fast? he merely crossed 131 here. wicket taking is not a problem but they couldnt control the runs flow.

    It will be hard for pakistan to avoid white wash now. Pak batting was suppose to be bad here but i think their bowling also not good. in last test, and over today. Runs came without any problem for SA.

  • Atif on February 22, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Hope Pakistan packuP the Proceedings Of Proteas adding more 50-60 to will serve pakistan more than a Mountain if Steyn get His rythm ....even philander will be very handy here.....looks like a beautiful batting pitch if one Sticks to the Basic rules of Test Cricket....

  • des on February 22, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Irfan may have 'laughed off the clumsiness', but it appeared he gave his knee a knock and was limping when he came in to bowl, with his pace well down. Given that Pakistan have another bowler injured as well this is not a good sign for Pakistan.

    Sometimes when I see frontline bowlers hurling themselves at the advertising boards I actually wonder whether it's worth the risk in tests or whether they should just concede the boundary if they are in danger of injury.

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