Pakistanis steal show

Published: Saturday | February 2, 2013 Comments 0
Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez (centre) celebrates after taking the wicket of Morne Morkel and bowl out South Africa for 253 during the first Test match in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday. - AP
Pakistan's Mohammad Hafeez (centre) celebrates after taking the wicket of Morne Morkel and bowl out South Africa for 253 during the first Test match in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday. - AP

JOHANNESBURG (AP):

Seemingly oblivious to South Africa's celebrations of Graeme Smith's 100th Test as captain, Pakistan stole the show by bowling out the Proteas for 253 on day one yesterday of the first Test.

On Smith's 32nd birthday, the Wanderers crowd was expecting a dominant showing from their long-serving leader, only for Pakistan off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez to be the unexpected star.

Hafeez took two key middle-order wickets before making short work of the tail to finish with figures of 4-16. He then opened the batting and scored all of Pakistan's runs as the tourists closed on six without loss.

The hype in the build-up to the Test had centred around Smith, who led South Africa for the 99th time, having also captained a World XI in a Test against Australia in 2005.

Yet, after Smith won the toss and elected to bat on a sunny day, Pakistan's bowlers overcame an indifferent start to grab the initiative and claim six wickets in the final session.

All of South Africa's top six batsmen made starts, yet Jacques Kallis' 50 was the highest score on the day due to a combination of reckless shots and Pakistani persistence.

Although Pakistan's fast bowlers were slow to find their lengths in a wicketless opening hour, they adapted to the conditions and dismissed both Smith and his opening partner, Alviro Petersen, in the space of five deliveries.

PROLIFIC PAKISTAN BOWLERS

Kallis and Hashim Amla stabilised the innings, then counter-attacked after the lunch break, but Pakistan's bowlers maintained their control and found excellent support from their fielders to break a crucial stand.

First, Kallis was superbly caught by a diving Asad Shafiq at deep midwicket after taking on a clever bouncer from Umar Gul, and then Amla, on 37, lashed a Younis Khan delivery to gully where he was well held by Azhar Ali.

"We always think that we have to do something special in the field and everyone tries to give 100 per cent," Hafeez said. "The bowlers really showed discipline with the ball, and then the whole fielding side really backed them up."

South Africa fought back with a 64-run stand between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, only for Hafeez to enter the attack in the 71st over and have De Villiers caught behind with his very first delivery.

"The position we were in at 199 for four we should have got more runs," Du Plessis said. "AB and myself had a good partnership going and I don't know exactly how many we got for the last six wickets but it definitely wasn't enough runs from the bottom six (batsmen)."

Du Plessis played on off Junaid Khan shortly after to depart for 41, before South Africa's lower order folded quickly in the face of the second new ball, adding just 23 runs for the final four wickets.

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