Comfortable Test victory for Proteas

2013-02-04 13:14

South Africa: 253 and 275/3 declared (De Villiers 103*, Amla 74*, Smith 52, Umar Gul 2/58, Saeed Ajmal 1/74)

Pakistan: 49 and 268 (Misbah-ul-Haq 64, Asad Shafiq 56, Nasir Jamshed 46, Steyn 5/52, Philander 2/60, Morkel 2/89)

South Africa won by 211 runs

South Africa needed the full duration of the morning session to wrap up the first Test against Pakistan convincingly.

It was on the back of a fiery new-ball spell by Dale Steyn.

South Africa needed the wickets of Asad Shafiq and Misbah-ul-Haq, who assiduously increased their stand to 127 while South Africa waited for the new ball.

When it was taken in the 80th over, the eight-ball swung firmly in the Proteas’ favour.

The pitch was showing signs of odd-ball bounce but the old ball was not hard enough to take advantage of the ever widening cracks.

Misbah turned the aggressor after he was intent on lying in Shafiq’s slipstream.

He proceeded to a rather slow 18th test 50 but in the context of the game, it was a significant performance. The game was already gone but it showed that Pakistan was not ready to give in without a fight.

A fiery Steyn, who was economical when wickets were not coming, swung the game decisively in a bristling spell.

He tested the resolve of both batsmen outside off stump and it was the young Shafiq who faltered first, guiding a short off a length delivery to Jacques Kallis’s hands at second slip.

It was only a matter of time before Misbah also wilted.

He was Steyn’s second victim, out to a wicked outswinger.

Whatever fight Pakistan had left went with him. Sarfraz Ahmed did not last too long either, with the ball cannoning off his half-hearted leave and onto his stumps.

The faltering innings was given relief by a defiant if futile innings by Umar Gul, who looked like he was indifferent to the situation. Saeed Ajmal hung around, but he was defeated by a spicy Morne Morkel bouncer, which he could only fend to AB de Villiers.

Gul became Steyn’s 10th victim and more importantly, helped De Villiers equal Jack Russell’s 1995 record of 11 dismissals by a wicket keeper in one match.

Junaid Khan’s review could not deny Steyn his 11th wicket and South Africa a comfortable victory. Graeme Smith’s declaration was not generous.

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