A consummate bowling performance by Pakistan on day one of the first Test against South Africa suggested they were capable of challenging the top-ranked team in the world. Yesterday they were bowled out for 49 and left facing the prospect of a heavy defeat.
Fast bowler Dale Steyn was once again the inspiration for South Africa, taking 6-8 to give the Proteas a first-innings lead of 204. By close on day two South Africa advanced to 207-3 and an overall lead of 411 runs.
Steyn's figures represented the third-cheapest six-wicket haul in the history of the five-day game, and only Jermaine Lawson of West Indies, who took 6-3 against Bangladesh in 2002, has claimed a cheaper six-wicket haul than Steyn in the last 89 years.
The No. 1 bowler in the world produced two blistering spells of outswing, taking three wickets in each as Pakistan's batsmen were unable to match his quality on a helpful pitch.
"I've never seen two hours of relentless pace bowling as I've witnessed today," Pakistan's well-travelled coach, Dav Whatmore, said. "Most of our batsmen got out to terrific balls. I'm very disappointed with the result, but there are reasons for that and you need to give credit to the South African bowlers."
Having claimed the first three Pakistani wickets in his first two overs of the day, Steyn returned after lunch to claim the last three without conceding a further run.
"It's kind of expected of your fast bowlers to clean up the tail, but I was pretty stoked with the first three early because I haven't done that in a while," Steyn said.
With the match barely into its fifth session, South Africa captain Graeme Smith opted not to enforce the follow-on, and instead looked to add to the home side's considerable lead.
It's the third time in 14 months South Africa has dismissed a visiting side in the 40s; bowling out Australia for 47 in November 2011, and New Zealand for 45 on January 2, both in Cape Town.