SA Invitation XI v Pakistanis, Tour match, 3rd day, East London January 27, 2013

Pakistanis tighten grip with big lead


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • greig 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.

  • Wiqar 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.

  • muhammad 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 ......

  • Stark 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.

  • 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"

  • Cricket 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.

  • Casper 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.

  • Nauman 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?

  • mohammad 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.

  • shyam 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...