Proteas have it all to do on day 2

2013-02-01 18:40

South Africa has been begging for a challenge and they got it from an unrelenting Pakistan on the first day of the Test.

South Africa ran roughshod over New Zealand and whatever opening the Black Caps created, they were always able to crush with the utmost efficiency. Pakistan is a much better side in all respects, except for fielding perhaps. Even in that department they did well today, with two catches going to hand that Pakistan teams would not normally take.

The impressive thing about Pakistan’s display on day one was their unwavering discipline in sticking to the basics. When the pitch offered something to the bowlers early in the day, they searched for movement in the air and deviation off the pitch without sacrificing runs.

Only during Jacques Kallis’s post-lunch onslaught did the run rate creep above three an over.

Cautious aggression should have been South Africa’s approach as most wickets were lost needlessly. Only Faf du Plessis and Alviro Petersen could count themselves unlucky. The former’s forward defence was not solid enough to keep out a delivery from Junaid Khan while the latter was also accounted for by Junaid Khan with a seaming delivery that Petersen could only prod to third slip.

Graeme Smith drove loosely outside off stump and so did AB de Villiers. Hashim Amla’s cut was chancy at best and Vernon Philander’s run-out was symptomatic of South Africa’s indecision at the crease.

There may have been movement early on but in no way did the pitch have demons. Two partnerships worth 79 between Kallis and Amla and the 64-run stand between De Villiers and Du Plessis should have led South Africa to a comfortable position.

South Africa got away with starts not being converted against New Zealand but this quietly confident Pakistani team bided its time and they were rewarded. South Africa have it all to do on day two.

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