Second Test Match

South Africa v Pakistan

Toss: South Africa. Test debuts: H. D. Ackerman; Fazl-E-Akbar, Yousuf Youhana.

For once, Pakistan played to their considerable potential to take a 1-0 lead. South Africa were unable to keep pace with their more gifted opponents, though a less determined side would surely have been overwhelmed by a wider margin.

Cronje returned after his knee injury and was joined in the middle order by debutant Hylton Ackerman, son of the former Northamptonshire batsman of the same name; they replaced Cullinan and Gibbs. The experienced swing bowler De Villiers also came into the side at the expense of off-spinner Symcox, who could feel unfortunate after his heroics at Johannesburg. Pakistan introduced Yousuf Youhana (only the fourth Christian to represent the country in a Test) because Inzamam-ul-Haq had twisted an ankle in practice; there was also a debut for fast-medium bowler Fazl-E-Akbar, replacing Saqlain Mushtaq. South Africa's decision to drop their spinner proved costly. Mushtaq Ahmed, admittedly a better slow bowler than any South Africa had to choose from, was to be the match-winner, with nine wickets.

Pakistan were put in on a two-paced pitch, and Donald and Pollock reduced them to 89 for five. They were rescued by another outstanding hundred from Azhar Mahmood, his third in six Test innings against South Africa. He looked to be much too low at No. 7, as he lifted his side to 259 with an uninhibited innings of 132, 96 of them in boundaries, in 198 minutes. He consistently drove and cut the fast bowlers backward of point and hit Donald back over his head before hooking him in front of square leg. Even more impressive, for a batsman two days short of his 23rd birthday, was the way he protected the tail. In a ninth-wicket stand of 80 with Shoaib Akhtar- who made six - he faced 80 per cent of the deliveries. His second fifty came in only 42 minutes, and he made 96 of Pakistan's last 106 runs.

Then, on the second day, South Africa were troubled by another youngster. Shoaib, carrying a knee injury, was still quicker than Waqar Younis or Donald the previous day - which arguably made him the fastest bowler in the world at this time. He found steep bounce and the reverse swing that comes so easily to many Pakistanis. In his third Test, he captured five for 43 and swept away the lower half of the batting after Kallis and Ackerman had put on 83 for the third wicket. Four of his victims were clean bowled and the other lbw. Despite a fluent, undefeated 70 from Pollock, South Africa were all out shortly after tea, trailing by 28.

On the third day, Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail built the first century opening stand against South Africa in 45 Tests since their return to international cricket (the previous best had been 99 for West Indies in the first of the 45). Anwar batted more than five hours for his fifth Test century, which carried him past 2,000 Test runs. But Pakistan lost their nine wickets for 67. Pollock took five in 43 balls to finish with six for 50.

Set 255 to win, South Africa then faltered against Mushtaq, who used the rough to return figures of six for 78. Once again, they refused to lie down: a ninth-wicket stand of 86 between Boucher and De Villiers gave South Africa sudden, outrageous optimism. But early on the final morning, they suffered their first defeat in six Tests against Pakistan and their first at Kingsmead since England's win in 1964-65.

Man of the Match: Mushtaq Ahmed. Attendance: 35,791.

Close of play: First day, South Africa 23-1 (A. M. Bacher 14*, J. H. Kallis 7*); Second day, Pakistan 11-0 (Saeed Anwar 8*, Aamir Sohail 2*); Third day, Pakistan 222-8 (Mushtaq Ahmed 16*, Shoaib Akhtar 1*); Fourth day, South Africa 186-8 (M. V. Boucher 36*, P. S. De Villiers 26*).

© John Wisden & Co