Proteas bag 5th successive Test win

2013-02-17 18:49

Hashim Amla’s solid innings against Pakistan guided South Africa to series victory and their fifth Test win in succession. The win also took Graeme Smith past Ricky Ponting’s record of 48 test wins.

All the tricky chase of 182 needed was a foundation at one end and a couple of cavaliers at the other end to hasten the victory charge. Hashim Amla battened down the hatches perfectly and the other batsmen batted in a carefree manner to ensure Saeed Ajmal did not get the same kind of grip he had on the Proteas’ batsmen. He did nip out two wickets, those of Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis but the total was 80 to 100 runs short of being defendable. Pakistan had only themselves to blame for that.

They lost six wickets for the paltry sum of 22 runs when they should have pressed on the accelerator. Their slow scoring in the evening session on day four had a lot to with it as the Proteas stuck to their accurate lines and denied Pakistan quick singles. Pakistan had resumed the day on 100/3 but lost captain Misbah-ul-Haq very quickly, with his sweep shot only finding Graeme Smith at leg slip.

Asad Shafiq was unlucky to be bowled out for 19, with the ball coming off his bat and clipping the offstump, removing the bail in the process.

Sarfraz Ahmed made the worst misjudgement of the match, leaving a Robin Peterson ripper that turned from outside leg stump. It cannoned into his middle stump and it left the long tail exposed.

There was to be no wagging this time round when Peterson and Vernon Philander combined to take a unique team hat trick. After Ahmed’s dismissal with the last ball of the 65th over, Philander nipped out Azhar Ali and Umar Gul in successive balls. They were both caught in the slip cordon but Alviro Petersen’s fourth slip catch to get rid of Gul was top drawer. Tanvir Ahmed and Saeed Ajmal did not last long to cause any trouble.

Alviro Petersen did not have the most comfortable time, surviving two close calls from Mohammad Irfan. The first one was a leg before shout that was marginal and a mistimed pull shot that was saved by an even closer no ball.

There was no such luck when Umar Gul trapped him in front and he did not review. Smith muscled his way to 29 before the sweep shot was again the end of him, a leg before decision by Ajmal his undoing. Kallis was also trapped when he moved too far across an Ajmal offspinner. His review did not save him. Amla continued to be the beacon of calm artistry, compiling his 26th test 50 off 87 balls as his 62-run partnership with AB de Villiers shut the door on Pakistan.

He did not see the chase through, along with De Villiers, but they had done enough to ensure a comfortable win.

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