A wicket towards the end of the day helped South Africa to pull things back in their favour on Day One of the second Test at Cape Town. Pakistan ended the day with 253 runs on board losing five wickets.
Asad Shafiq and Younis Khan slammed tons in their 219-run partnership before Khan was dismissed for 111. The middle-order batsmen showed enormous resilience to take their team to safety after their top-order collapsed within the first 17 overs.
Earlier, South Africa made the first use of the Newlands pitch by putting Pakisan into bat. The opening pair of Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed were guarded against the dangerous pace trio. It was just a matter of time before Vernon Philander dismissed Jamshed and Dale Steyn removed Hafeez. Morkel struck twice in the17th over with the wickets of Azhar Ali and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. At 33 for four, it seemed to be the same old story for Pakistan with hardly any intention to put up a fight.
Leading the side in his 100th Test, Graeme Smith would have fancied bowling out Pakistan post lunch considering the fierce form of his bowlers. But he would have hardly expected a gutsy fight back by the two unbeaten batsmen. Though the batsmen found it extremely difficult to score runs in the first half of post lunch session, they kept their wicket intact and played the waiting game and attempted the odd lose deliveries.
Shafiq completed 1000 test runs and brought his half-century in the last over before tea. As the day progressed even the pitch eased out which made things easy for the two set batsmen.
Like an experienced subcontinent batsman, both Khan and Shafiq scored comfortably against spin in the form of Robin Peterson. A six over long on followed by a boundary cutting the ball through backward point by Shafiq reaffirmed the fact that the top-order batsmen could have done more than edging and pulling the ball arbitrarily.
Khan, the experienced among the two, completed his 21st century in Test cricket. Shafiq followed soon after bringing his hundred in style with a boundary.
Both batsmen frustrated the South African attack as they consolidated their partnership. It seemed as if the Proteas were eager to complete their quota of 80 overs and have fresh shot at the batsmen with the new ball. In the meanwhile Smith was forced to break away from his regular bowlers and Dean Elgar was brought in to break the partnership but failed to find any success.
Smith showed no hesitation in taking the new ball and almost found success. A Dale Steyn delivery rapped Younis Khan on the pads and the umpire raised his finger. The Proteas celebration was short-lived as the review showed the batsman had nicked the ball before it hit the pads.
However, Smith’s persistence with his strike bowlers paid dividends as Philander dismissed Younis Khan for 111. The fielding side went for a review after their LBW appeal was turned down by the umpire.
However, the hot spot showed an edge which ruled the decision in their favour as de Villiers had caught the ball behind the wickets.
Though Pakistan would have hoped the two batsmen to remain unbeaten but they will accept what they’ve got considering the huge spot of bother they put themselves into, early in the day.
Brief Scores: Pakistan: 253 for 5 (Asad Shafiq 111*,Younis Khan 111; Morne Morkel 2 for 37, Vernon Philander 2 for 45) vs South Africa