SA Invitation XI v Pakistanis, Tour match, 3rd day, East London

Pakistanis tighten grip with big lead

The Report by Firdose Moonda

January 27, 2013

Comments: 39 | Text size: A | A

Pakistanis 329 (Safraz 93, Harmer 5-88) and 240 for 5 (Hafeez 83, Jamshed 51, Misbah 51*) lead South African Invitation XI 257 (van Jaarsveld 92, Vilas 62*, Ajmal 3-66) by 312 runs

The Pakistanis put themselves in prime position to record a first victory on their visit to South Africa as they bowled the hosts out and built a significant lead on the third day in East London. Nasir Jamshed and Mohammed Hafeez were among the runs again, while Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan and Umar Gul all flexed their wicket-taking muscles.

Pakistan's latest sensation, the 2.03 metre tall Mohammed Irfan, only bowled 12 overs in the first innings as team management called for fast-bowling reinforcements to be sent to South Africa. He was not needed on the third morning as it took Ajmal and Junaid just 13.1 overs to get rid of the South African Invitation XI's tail. Both finished with three scalps, while only Mohammed Hafeez went wicketless.

For the second time in the fixture, Pakistan's opening pair appeared solid. Hafeez and Jamshed put on a century stand with both making half-centuries. Hafeez was the more aggressive of the pair - his 83 coming off 109 balls before he was caught behind off the innocuous bowling of part-time medium pacer Stiaan van Zyl.

Jamshed was more circumspect. His spent four minutes short of three hours at the crease to compile his 51. Even though he seemed well set, he departed the over after Hafeez, bowled by Kyle Abbot.

Jamshed's performances in the match give Pakistan an interesting problem ahead of the Test series. Should they open the batting with the in-form debutant or, fitness permitting, return to the tried and trusted Taufeeq Umar? Taufeeq was forced to sit out the practice match because of a leg injury. He was assessed by a radiologist on Friday in East London and is awaiting the results before a call is taken on his availability.

Pakistan may consider using both players, with one batting at No.3, after Azhar Ali, Younis Khan and Asad Shafiq all failed again to leave the middle order looking shaky. They were all caught behind suggesting that some adjustment still needed to be made for South African conditions and the Invitation side would have sniffed an opening at 191 for 5.

But Misbah-ul-Haq came good and reached a half-century as stumps loomed. Sarfraz Ahmed was with him at the crease. Having already scored 93 in the first innings, Sarfraz may not need too much more practice time and the Pakistanis will look to let their bowlers have another run on the fourth day. The Pakistan squad will travel to Johannesburg on Tuesday to begin preparations for the first Test, which starts on Friday.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (January 28, 2013, 16:06 GMT)

Woohhaa, PAK fans looking into this far too much. These warm up games are not to be used as a gage of how good a team will fare. There were good players in the SA side, good batting FC averages and good upcoming bowlers too. Overall it was a good performance by PAK but come Friday its a whole new ball game.

Posted by wakaPAK on (January 28, 2013, 15:22 GMT)

@I.Aziz I'd agree with you on that... Lol, as they say in KPK, if you can kill your enemy with sweets why bother poison? Sporting wickets will be a danger for Pakistan as that will lift the chances of a good batting side. @sports4youth I think the right and left hand combo of the attack might have prompted them to use Gul instead of Irfan but it's also's Gul's experience. I think Irfan's pairing with Junaid might be beneficial; one with bouncy pace and the other with skiddy may confuse the batsmen like we saw in ODIs against India. @Xain.yousfani it's sad nowadays teams arent giving the visiting sides a fair chance to get used to the conditions but I think the weather has tested the Pak batsmen if not the pitch and they still deserve some credits especially against unknown bowlers who could be the steyn's and philanders on the waiting list.

Posted by mhk21 on (January 28, 2013, 15:16 GMT)

guys chill it was a practice match .....and they wanted to spend more time on crease on batting rather than looking to win the match by scoring on rapid pace to get as much batting practice as possible ......

Posted by Stark62 on (January 28, 2013, 15:11 GMT)

There is nothing wrong with the middle order, except Shafiq!!

Shafiq averages 40.05 and is 27 years of age, whilst batsmen like Umar, Alam, Salahuddin and Harris average above 45, plus are younger than him.

Yes, he has performed well recently but he made centuries against SL and Bang, who potentially have a worse bowling attack than Ind, plus they were both made in the sub-continent.

Get rid of Shafiq and play Harris at 6 or play Taufeeq as an opener and send down Nasir to number 6.

Posted by Vleis on (January 28, 2013, 15:02 GMT)

Huh? The headline is "Ontong thwarts Pakistani victory bid", which is completely misleading.

The SA Inv team only needed to score 133 runs to win the match at about 4 per over. Bear in mind that they had batted at 3.8 per over for the 190 runs already on the board. If I was a betting man, my cash would've been on SA Inv to win if bad light hadn't interrupted play with a minimum of 31 overs still to be played.

Perhaps the headline should have been "Bad light thwarts SA Inv victory bid"

Posted by Sports4Youth on (January 28, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

The greatest poslitive for me in this practice match was the sucess of Sarfraz with the bat. I believe he will be an important factor in this series. The other positives were the success of Jamshed & Mohammed Irfan. I dont understand why Irfan was given only 7 overs inspite of putting up such a fine spell and got 2 wickets. As usual Umar Gul was expensive though he got one wicket. I think Umar Gul is not suited to open the bowling. He will be better off bowling 1st change.

Posted by crashed on (January 28, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

@I.Aziz Wel Wanderers is a good wicket for any cricket be it test or one day cricket. The South African supporters will be very disappointed if the wicket does not perform up to standard. I have seen totals being chased there that is mind blowing even if seen as a lost cause - thinking here on the odi between Australia and South Africans where we made the required 428 (I think) runs to win the match. As Wanderers is where the test is being played I expect high quality cricket all around being it fielding, bowling or batting.

Posted by Nautika on (January 28, 2013, 11:48 GMT)

Misbah will never change... He is on to his tuk tuk strategy. This game could have been won if Pakistan played attacking cricket by scoring at a rapid pace on day 3 and declaring at close to stumps. WHATMORE DO WE WANT?

Posted by dmqi on (January 28, 2013, 11:42 GMT)

I would like to see Taufiq Umar or any other batsman to replace Azhar Ali/ Asad for the 1st test. One of them needs a break. They are quality players, no doubt, but non performers should not get chance time and again.

Posted by matchfixerpkn on (January 28, 2013, 8:54 GMT)

Solid_Snake..this is time for us to celbrate we usually do ..bocs in real mathc its hhard to win 1 mathc agianst africa with these belwo par batsman...

Posted by I.Aziz on (January 28, 2013, 8:30 GMT)

I don't really think pitches in SA will be very much supporting for the fast bowling, they will be supporting for good cricket. If SA make fast pitches then no purpose will be served because Pakistan batting will be almost same on fast or supporting wickets rather they will help Pakistan bowling so no need fast tracks, good cricket supporting pitches are good for SA as spinners will not be much effective and they (SA) will make runs and put pressure on Pakistan Batting. Anything otherwise will cost SA dearly and I personally hope they do commit that mistake Pakistan will thrive on that.May Pakistan return victorious from this tour this is a very special one.

Posted by Xain.Yousfani on (January 28, 2013, 7:25 GMT)

Well Lets not carried away with the performance of openers, misbah and Sarfarz in particular. I read on cricinfo before this practice match that this pitch isnt designed as designed for others teams to threaten them with the bouncy pitch but this pitch was infact a sluggish one.. Pakistan batsmen need to show alot of character as SA Fast attack is way too dangerous and lethal. as far as bowling is concerned i would love to see red ball in the hands of Junaid Khan, he could be as lethal as was M. Aamir and M. Aasif. I put my money on Junaid khan and saeed ajmal coz we know the quality of Ajmal ( Big champ really) ... All the best team Pakistan we are always here to support you and back you no matter you win or loose...

Good Luck...!

Posted by shikari_pk on (January 28, 2013, 6:50 GMT)

Guys, don't get distracted by replying to outsider's posts, the main thing is that Pakistan team is getting some practice on the SA pitches and that can only be a good thing, more practice matches would have been nicer. Mind you this isn't a do or die game for Pakistan, it's more of an experiment, I wouldn't be surprised if we see the team slogging in the first few overs on the last day and then getting out bowlers to finish up the game. Pakistan team's performance in the test will certainly be better than this. It will be a fun series to watch :)

Posted by RaadQ on (January 28, 2013, 6:39 GMT)

Younis Khan should be dropped and replaced by Haris Sohail. Mohammad Irfan should be dropped and replaced by Rahat Ali/Ehsan Adil. Then, whoever performs the worst out of Jamshed/Sohail/Ali/Shafiq should be replaced by Taufeeq Umar and the bowling should be rotated between U Gul/E Adil/R Ali/T Ahmed.

Posted by class9ryan on (January 28, 2013, 6:38 GMT)

Pakistan are unlucky not 2 play against some real quick bowlers which would have given them some practice ... Except Kyle Abbott none of the Invitation bowler is really competeting enough 2 standards of Steyn, Vernon or Morne.... Hope pakistan can get used 2 conditions quickly

Posted by Basit75 on (January 28, 2013, 6:06 GMT)

it's just a practise match & it's not an internati0nal xi, but INSHAALLAH we will fight. Good luck Pakistan Good luck Younus Khan

Posted by Crick_Expert on (January 28, 2013, 2:45 GMT)

Pakistan Test Team should be as; 1-Mohd. Hafeez, 2-Nasir J, 3-Taufeeq Umar, 4-Haris Shoail/Azhar Ali, 5-Younis Khan, 6-Misbah Haq, 7- Sarfraz Ahmed, 8-Umar Gul, 9-Junaid Khan, 10-Saeed Ajmal, 11- Mohd Irfan

Team Management should give a chance to Haris Sohail. Asad Safiq should be return back PAK, as he not able to play at SA bouce pitch.

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (January 27, 2013, 23:21 GMT)

Not a bad performance overhaul.. Middle order will click.. i think they should keep Taufeeq and Nasir both in side and maybe drop asad shafeeq or Azhar Ali.. Tanvir ahmad is good addition.. i think asad shafeeq is lacking practice as he was injured and bit away from cricekt. Anyways well played by Openers and Sarfarz.

Posted by jhelumrawalpindi on (January 27, 2013, 22:55 GMT)

pakistan will win at least 1 test match if not the series.

Posted by Major85D on (January 27, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

And again azhar ali and younus khan scored only a few runs. the same procedure as every game. they got to many chances! it`s time to replace both by other batsmen! even umar gul scores more runs!

Posted by ahtasham.rvj on (January 27, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

hello MR counter strike 1.6....azhar ali has better technique than your so called great batsmen....and i am not speaking this results are speaking this......he averages 45 in tests while nobody of your so called greats are even near to it including kohli , gambhir , dhoni, yuvraj, raina, robit, jadeja..(all of them averages from 30 --40)....if azhar ali should be included in afghan(B) then what about ur players ...they should be in Namibia or bermuda's team ( even they will not take these bloodies too..).....................hate flat track bullies....

Posted by heartbreakerz on (January 27, 2013, 19:47 GMT)

counterstrike1.6....azhar ali has a better test batting avg than your flat track bullies like kohli, gambhir, yuvraj n raina even if he isn't the "wall" atleast he is better than them

Posted by KarachiKid on (January 27, 2013, 19:38 GMT)

I dont think Irfan will last the whole test. Instead Pakistan should play Tanvir Ahmed or Ehsan Adil. Secondly, Younus and Azhar should definitely play for Pakistan regardless of their performance in this match. Younus has proved his worth over a long period of time so he should be automatic selection like Misbah and Hafeez. Sarafaraz has for the first time impressed with his batting. Hope he continues to score useful runs. Good that we dont have Umar and Kamran Akmal, both useless players.

Posted by Navaidzuberi on (January 27, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

Overall good performance by Pak team, only few concerns over middle order performance. Talks of dropping Azhar and Shafiq are rubbish, we should remember that both of them has performed really well in Tests (against Eng n SL). They have the technique required to perform at test level. However, the task of Batsmen is very tough in SA.

Posted by Malik121 on (January 27, 2013, 19:28 GMT)

Yeah ! I put my money on south Africe. they are No-1 Test team in the World. The only thing they missing is quality spin bowling. apart from that, they are top. I think its gonna be difficult for Pakistan to win any of three test matches.

Posted by arvind.Kejriwal.AAP_A_Better_INDIA_ on (January 27, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

Azhar Ali was being termed as "The Wall" of Pakistan by many Pak fans. What happened ? Even B-Grade SA domestic bowlers got him out cheaply in both the innings.

To be honest, No. 3 batting slot should be given to someone who has the best Defensive Technique or at least he should be technically correct unlike Azhar Ali who does't even deserve to be in second XI of Afg. But we can understand Pak lack quality batsmen so he made it to the National team. Gul can come in at No. 3. He seems to be the Best of all pak sloggers.

Posted by haq33 on (January 27, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

RE: the batting....Younis has to stay because we all know what he can do on his day. Jamshed and Taufeeq should both play with Jamshed at no.3. The question is who from Shafiq and Azhar to drop. I would drop Shafiq. As for the bowling, I would keep Irfan and see how he does in the 1st test.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2013, 18:18 GMT)

I think Misbah should promote batting order as Umar Gul at no 3,junaid on 4 respectively :P

Posted by Desihungama on (January 27, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

I believe M. Irfan may not be cut out for longer version but you can't have a seven footer in your arsenal with bowling abilities and not try for the first Test, at least. See if he can be real handy on these pitches. Should be break down (I think this is why reinforcements were called), you still have Ehsan Adil and others on the bench. Very delighted with opening performances and hoping at least one of them continues when games begin. I'll put Taufeeq in place of Asad. Trust me you don't want to miss seeing Azhar and Younis bat in this series, they'll come good. Good luck to both Pak and SAF.

Posted by   on (January 27, 2013, 17:56 GMT)

Pak thinktank plz drop azhar ali and played haris . He is much better and talented player than azhar. Azhar is basically a tailender who started his carrer as a leg spinner

Posted by Green_Team on (January 27, 2013, 17:42 GMT)

Good Performance by Greens . . . Hope in test series they will also perform well . .

Posted by farhan4050 on (January 27, 2013, 17:36 GMT)

Aizaz Cheema performs so well in domestic seasons. Highest wicket taker in the President's trophy and the on going Quaid-E-Azam trophy. But he never impresses in the international level. He looks an average bowler against top teams.

Posted by Solid_Snake on (January 27, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

What happened to Azhar Ali.He is in such a bad shape.After success in early career,got overconfident or what..Azhar.Younis & Shafiq all three are rusty..I hope they perform well or else get ready for disasters

Posted by   on (January 27, 2013, 17:10 GMT)

and this Rahit ali is the left arm pacer i guess with a good pace of arnd 145 k i think

Posted by romirom on (January 27, 2013, 17:07 GMT)

come on haris sohail is another left hander with the sound technique in the side. let him adjust in playing 11. i'm sure he will perform if he gets chance. he is the most successfull batsman in the domestic season in last few years and he is young as well. there is no meaning of taking young talented player like him in the tour and not giving him in a single game. he was selected for srilanka tour and then india tour but not used him. this might be frustrating for him...

Posted by LahoriLion009 on (January 27, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

I would like to see one change to this team in first test Ehsan Adil in for M Irfan as I already said that irfan is not suited to test cricket. Batsmans performing satisfactory with shafiq, younus and azhar failure but i am sure they are "Leature" enough to stay at

Good Luck Shaheens

Posted by Mustafiz111 on (January 27, 2013, 16:46 GMT)

Again gud show by Hafeez and Nasir,looks to be a steady pair.azhar.shafiq and younus have to adjust themselves.Backup of the bowlers will strenghthen the bench. Like to see a gud performance frm team green.

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