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The Report by Firdose Moonda
February 11, 2013
Pakistanis 176 for 6 decl. (Shafiq 45*, Bothma 3-24) & 126 for 1 decl. (Younis 74*, Bothma 1-10) beat Emerging Cape Cobras 156 (Kleinveldt 36, Irfan 4-20) & 78 (Petersen 33, Irfan 3-20) by 10 wickets
Towering seam bowler Mohammed Irfan continued to put himself in contention for a Test debut while Younis Khan came good as the Pakistanis completed their first win on tour in South Africa. They triumphed over the Emerging Cape Cobras - a team made up of cricketers who play in the second tier of the first-class competition - to get valuable game time ahead of this week's Test match.
Not much can be read into the result, given the quality of the opposition, but the match allowed for some insight into Pakistan's strategies. That they seem to be debating the opening position is obvious. Mohammed Hafeez played no part in the tour match but Imran Farhat batted at the top in both innings. He made a solid 34 on his second attempt.
Nasir Jamshed, the other opener from the Wanderers match, also sat out. He turned his ankle on Sunday and required rest but Pakistan's team manager Naved Cheema confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that Jamshed is available for selection for the second Test. Azhar Ali remains a concern and managed only 11 and 12 in the practice encounter. He may be the one to make way for Farhat, should Pakistan decide to go that way.
Misbah-ul-Haq retired overnight on 44, perhaps feeling he had made the necessary adjustments for the conditions while Asad Shafiq, who was on 21, went on to get 45. Sarfraz Ahmed did not spend much time in the middle, 16 minutes to be exact and the Pakistanis declared with a lead of 20.
Their bowling attack continued to trouble the Emerging Cape Cobras. Only three batsmen managed to get into double figures and they lost their last seven wickets for 14 runs. Tanvir Ahmed was much improved from the first innings and took 2 for 18 in five overs. But it was Irfan who was impossible to ignore. He finished the match with seven scalps and conceded only 40 runs.
Ehsan Adil also enjoyed a good return with the spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, taking three wickets between them for seven runs.
The Pakistanis needed just 59 runs to win and promoted Younis up the order to give him time against the new ball and to find form. He obliged and, with Farhat, took the Pakistanis to the victory total.
With time still left, they asked to bat on and were granted their request. Younis went on to make a classy 74 and took on the bowlers in the latter part of his innings. Given the value of his experience, Pakistan's management will be pleased that he found his feet in South Africa. The second Test starts on Thursday at Newlands and Pakistan must win to square the series.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondentFeeds: Firdose Moonda
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test