First Test Match

South Africa v Pakistan

At Durban, December 26, 27, 28, 29, 2002. South Africa won by ten wickets. Toss: Pakistan.

On the first afternoon, Pakistan's hopes were raised when South Africa were struggling slightly at 214 for five. It was their only moment of optimism in the two-Test series before South Africa's depth and resilience proved decisive.

The first morning had been typically hard work for batsmen on the country's greenest wicket, but Pakistan had picked only three seamers, and they wasted the bounce and seam movement with a series of wide, harmless deliveries. Even their two early successes owed something to good fortune: Smith flapped at a wide Mohammad Sami half-volley that was swinging wider still, while Gibbs slapped a Waqar Younis long-hop to backward point. A couple more edges and a classic Waqar in-swinger later, and South Africa were nervous.

But Kallis was in stubborn mood, taking no chances and waiting for the limited attack to blow itself out. He treated every delivery with the respect it deserved, and when respect was inappropriate he belted it to the boundary. Long periods of dishearteningly solid defence drained the bowlers, and Kallis was nourished by their despair, completing a 205-ball hundred shortly before bad light ended play. On the second morning, Boucher emulated Kirsten's composed, unhurried half-century of the first day, and South Africa reached 368. Saqlain Mushtaq worked admirably hard for his four wickets in conditions offering him little encouragement, while Waqar and Sami finished with three each but could - and should - have done better.

In reply, Pakistan openers Taufeeq Umar, a revelation in both Tests, and Salim Elahi put on 77, and neither looked remotely threatened. It was a glimpse of what was possible on a pitch that routinely plays well on days two and three. But after the 21-year-old Taufeeq edged a lifter from Hayward, the rest of the batsmen whimpered like scolded dogs.

There may be no such thing as a bad century or five-wicket haul, but there are certainly lucky ones. Hayward bowled fast, but was wilder than a Karoo ostrich. Charging in, hair peroxide blond, he sprayed bouncers ad nauseam in the approximate direction of batsmen's heads. Sadly, the Pakistanis appeared happy enough to back away and offer catching practice. In between the many dreadful deliveries, Hayward filched five for 56 inside 11 eventful overs. Ntini, on the other hand, was no less rapid and a good deal more accurate for his three wickets. On the third morning, Waqar hit 28 in 19 balls, but was last out just eight short of saving the follow-on.

Asked to bat again, Pakistan managed 89 more in their second innings, but without application. Although Taufeeq again tried to weld things together, four of his colleagues wafted catches to the keeper, and their collective approach was best summed up when Yousuf Youhana flailed yet another Hayward bouncer straight to third man.

The fourth and final morning was a mixed experience for several of the South Africans. As Gibbs and Smith completed a ten-wicket win before lunch, the team already knew the 15-man squad for the World Cup, due to be announced publicly in a televised ceremony after the match. Among those to miss out was Smith, who later admitted to feeling gloomier than at any other time in his career. Little did he know: seven weeks on, he was called into the squad to replace the injured Jonty Rhodes; a month after that, he was captain of South Africa.

Man of the Match: J. H. Kallis. Attendance: 14,503.

Close of play: First day, South Africa 250-5 (Kallis 104, Boucher 13); Second day, Pakistan 120-8 (Kamran Akmal 0, Waqar Younis 0); Third day, Pakistan 218-8 (Kamran Akmal 21, Waqar Younis 2).

© John Wisden & Co