South Africa v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Centurion, 2nd day February 23, 2013

Debutant Abbott destroys Pakistan


Pakistan 156 (Abbott 7-29) and 14 for 1 trail South Africa 409 (De Villiers 121, Amla 92, Philander 74, Rahat 6-127) by 239 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It's been a heady couple of days for Kyle Abbott. On Friday, he got the exhilarating news that he would make his Test debut, after Jacques Kallis was ruled out with a calf injury. On Saturday, he grabbed that chance in the most spectacular manner, ripping through Pakistan's brittle batting to end with 7 for 29, the best figures by a South African in his first Test innings.

He's still only South Africa's sixth-choice fast bowler, but at Centurion he was the one proudly leading the team off the field after Pakistan were bundled out for 156. Dale Steyn, the premier quick bowler in the world, walked across and gave Abbott the innings ball to treasure.

Over the past year, Abbott worked on his fitness and shed plenty of kilos, before forcing his way into the national reckoning with a chart-topping haul of 49 wickets for Dolphins in South Africa's domestic competition.

A bustling bowler operating in the mid-130s kph range, he was accurate around off stump and consistently got the ball to zip away from the right-handers on a pitch that had variable bounce. It was that movement that confounded the Pakistan batsmen, with six of his victims edging to the slip cordon or gully. It was also a damning statement on the technique of some of the batsmen, as they regularly tried to defend with an open blade, resulting in outside edges that were eagerly snapped up behind the wicket.

Unlike every other innings in this series, Pakistan's openers actually managed to provide a solid start. Their highest partnership in four previous innings was 10, but this time Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat, taking the place of the struggling Nasir Jamshed, kept out everything South Africa threw at them for over an hour.

South Africa's bowlers, yet again, showed their ability to turn the game around in a jiffy. From a steady 46 for 0, Pakistan slipped to 56 for 3 in the space of the 13 deliveries. Vernon Philander started the slide, by getting Farhat lbw with a full delivery. Abbott then became the second debutant in the game to get a wicket in his first over as Hafeez slapped the ball to gully where Dean Elgar scooped up a low catch. Azhar Ali followed next ball, as a Philander delivery stayed low and Ali's limp attempt at defence ended in an inside-edge onto the stumps.

Asad Shafiq, one of Pakistan's more successful batsman this series, was then trapped lbw by a pumped-up Steyn in the first over of the final session. Sarfraz Ahmed, whose batting has looked woefully short of international standard this series, resisted briefly, and with the help of Younis Khan, Pakistan's perennial saviour, he took the score to 132 for 5.

Just as Pakistan fans were beginning to hope that the follow-on could be avoided, Abbott took over, and the final five wickets were rolled over in 40 deliveries. He began by getting Sarfraz to nick to Graeme Smith at first slip and the very next delivery it was an action replay as Saeed Ajmal went for a golden duck. The smile kept getting wider as the spell continued and more lower-order batsmen gave catching practice. The final wicket was that of Younis, who had hung around gamely for 33 before falling lbw.

Younis didn't have much time to put his feet up, however, as Hafeez's horror tour ended with a golden duck in the second innings after Smith enforced the follow-on. Less than 15 minutes after having stuck around with the tail, Younis was back out to battle South Africa's fearsome pace pack.

Pakistan had had a bit to smile about in the morning session. Rahat Ali hadn't earned too many admirers after his lacklustre debut in Johannesburg earlier this month, and his shelling of an absolute sitter off AB de Villiers made him a laughing stock, but he silenced the doubters with a six-for that ended South Africa's first innings at 409. With debutant Ehsan Adil struggling with a leg injury, Ajmal understandably not at his most dangerous this early in the Test, and Mohammad Irfan tiring towards the end of the innings, Rahat was the most successful in an inexperienced Pakistan attack.

Before Rahat's strikes, de Villiers completed his 16th Test century, and Philander went on to his career-best score of 74 as they stretched their seventh wicket partnership to 129, and South Africa reached a total that they could be satisfied with.

Abbott made certain they had nothing to worry about, as he exemplified the depth of South Africa's talent pool and put them on their way to complete a summer of total Test success.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anupam on February 24, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    Another Armour, Lethal Weapon is loaded in THE AFRICAN DEADLY BARRAGE (STEYN, MORKEL, PHIL, TSOTSOBE, DE LANGE, ABBOTT). This is weapon of BATTING MASS DESTRUCTION anywhere, anypitch. WITHOUT spinner SA is a NO. 1 team. No shame to say SA don't have quality spinners but having SIGMA 6 certified, Ultimate destruction certified PACE bowlers which destroys any fortress. what in UAE SA will trouble really really come To NORTH pole SA will produce same result.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 11:41 GMT

    What a performance on your test debut, well done Kyle!

  • Riaan on February 24, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    Kyle Abbott is not our sixth choice seamer. The current list is: 1. Steyn, 2. Philander, 3. Morkel, 4. Kallis, 5. De Lange, 6. Lopsy, 7. Kleinveldt, 8. Abbott

    Although he might have jumped Rory in this test. When Delange and Lopsy are fit, they will be the backup bowlers.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    Great too see a debutant `Star`, awesome bowling effort from Abbott, the `Saffer`s, have another fast bowler, who is world class. Hat`s off too Graeme Smith, for handing the ball to Abbott, too run through the Pakistan batting order, great Captaincy. Also Rahat Ali`s, performance should not be under-estimated, great too see so many young hungry, bowlers, doing well in International Cricket. As an Aussie supporter, but a die-hard Cricket tragic, i follow all test matches, and really enjoy seeing players from other countries do well. We just hosted, the Saffer`s, in an unforgettable, 3 test series in `OZ`, awesome Cricket all round from both teams, Saffer`s came out on top, but Cricket was the real winner. Both teams gave it there all, and played splendid, tough, high pressure Cricket, yet at the end of the series, both teams came together over a few Beer`s. That`s how much they respect each other, that`s the Spirit of Cricket, in a nutshell.

  • Brian on February 24, 2013, 9:25 GMT


    do you mean like last time SA played Pakistan in UAE when Smith, Kallis, Amla & de Villiers all made centuries in a 2-test series. I remember de Villiers being so overawed by the brilliant attack he panicked & made 278*.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    mzm149 - A similar thrashing to England? Really? Perhaps you forget that Pak did not steamroller SA in then UAE quite recently. In 2010 there was a 2 match series and the result was 0-0 with Smith, Amla, Kallis and de Villiers all making good runs. High scoring affairs. Morkel and Steyn bowled well considering the flat track Pak got 12 wickets in mach 1 and 15 in match 2 - Nowhere close to a result either way.

    Make no mistake Ajmal and Younis Khan are class players and will be even better in home conditions. But to predict a thrashing. Come on

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    what is going on with pakistan??? we have lot of young talent in bowling and batting but IQBAL qasim always chose wrong player where is anwer ali .. and gays the rest of the world is going good becz all country played in his home ground and this is huge advantge...

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 7:20 GMT

    I find it funny that the Pakistani supporters are still making excuses, rather than just accepting that SA are by far the superior team, in all departments. Swallow your pride and accept this fact. Newlands was a pitch hand crafted to Pakistani strengths- they pushed SA(albeit briefly), but simply didn't have the players to beat this SA team. So whilst i accept a 5 day series would be harder vs Pakistan in the UAE, this team is more than capable(in fact, odds on) of making it another 3-0 series whitewash. The only Pakistani player that would make it into the SA test side is Ajmal, without this player Pakistan cricket would be in dire straights.

  • Sherjil on February 24, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Posted by mzm149 on (February 23, 2013, 21:07 GMT): Are you kidding??? Philander is a genuine swing bowler with very accurate line and length.He will pick wickets in all parts of the world, not in heaps of-course but will surely contribute in useful nos. Just accept that you side is nowhere close to SA, i predicted a 2-0, or 2-1 in favor of SA before series, but Pak seems even worst than that.

  • Dummy4 on February 24, 2013, 6:58 GMT

    Whilst we were busy humbling and humiliating New Zealand, Pakistani fans were all over NZ and were saying let's just wait for February they will show us what Pakistan is made of.. Now it's February and we humbled them greatly and they are now saying let's wait until Saffas tour the Sub Continent.. Are you always this full of excuses? Can't you stick to one story? Man-up and admit you have been thrashed.

    At the New Wanderers Stadium(JHB) you blamed LACK of Practice, at Newlands(CT) you blamed the BALL Change, so what r u gonna blame HERE? Pakistan is no match to S.A with or without a spinner. S.A can beat any team anywhere and Evidents do support that. Aus in Aus, Eng in Eng, NZ in NZ and You