Pakistan live to fight another day

2013-02-15 09:16

Pakistan: 253/5 (Asad Shafiq 111*, Younus Khan 111, Morkel 2/37, Philander 2/45, Steyn 1/34)

Younus Khan’s century yesterday made sure Pakistan will live to fight another day.

He was not alone in the fight as the resolute Asad Shafiq finally built on the promise he showed in the second innings at the Wanderers, pushing on to his third test century and his first against South Africa.

Shafiq and Younus came together when the score was 33/4 and they dutifully compiled their 219-run association over 429 balls.

It needed all their application, determination, flair and grit. They showcased it all as they went the better part of two sessions protecting their wickets.

For a change the South African bowling attack was made to look human.

Their centuries were brought up off 201 and 192 balls respectively. They were solid but they weren’t messing around either.

How special the partnership was will only be determined by the progress in the first session of day two. In the first test, the same session was the deciding passage of play, with Pakistan shrivelling in the heat of some superb bowling.

The batting effort was praised by Vernon Philander and he knew how much improvement was needed to get Pakistan out very early in morning.

“Younus batted pretty well and the youngsters played well around him but the wicket is pretty good,” Philander said.

“You have to get past the new ball before you can make an accurate assessment of the track, but I think 350/400 should be a good first innings score but we have to bowl them out before that and post a big total.”

Spin will come in as a factor when the wicket dries out and with South Africa set to bat last unless they score big in the first innings, the prospect of Saeed Ajmal looms.

The new ball has done telling damage as it was responsible for all the wickets taken. It will be crucial on day two and so will Shafiq’s wicket. He will be the difference between a moderate and a good total.

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