SA batters adapt well

2013-10-09 00:00

BAR Graeme Smith (2), the Protea batsmen got stuck into the Pakistan “A” batsmen on the first day of the three-day warm-up clash in Sharjah yesterday, ahead of the first Test from October 14 to 18.

After being asked to bat first, the South Africans finished the day on 332-3 — two batsmen retired after reaching half centuries — with the top and middle order batsmen adapting to conditions and spending valuable time in the middle. Smith was out early, but the remaining batsmen all went past 50.

Alviro Petersen (57) and Hashim Amla (50) retired out soon after notching their fifties, allowing Jacques Kallis (70), AB de Villiers (58) and JP Duminy (49*) to achieve the pre-match objectives of occupying the crease and getting a look at what the track offered.

Speaking after the day’s play, Amla said the team were pleased at how matters had panned out.

“We went in to bat wanting the major batsmen to spend time at the crease and other than Graeme, who has been out of action for a while, we are happy with what was done,” he said.

Amla added that although Smith failed, he was too much of a class player not to be mentally prepared for the Test. “They bowled well early on and came hard at us,” he said.

“It was tricky at the start and runs were hard to come by. A slow outfield did not help, but Alviro and I managed to settle and conditions turned in our favour, allowing us and the other batsmen to play some shots.”

Smith took 15 balls for his two runs, falling LBW in the seventh over after a lively beginning by Pakistan “A”. Amla and Petersen ensured there would be no further cause for alarm with a partnership of 109 for the second wicket as the Pakistan “A” bowlers toiled in the heat.

Their inexperience showed through with the spinners coming in for some harsh treatment by the SA batsmen.

“The deck was good for batting and we showed that,” said Amla.

“There was a hint of turn toward the end of play and it could offer something for the spinners today and tomorrow, the last day. The seamers were coming off the strip quite nicely, allowing for positive scoring and batting.”

None of the Pakistan “A” bowlers had much to take back to the changeroom after play, Eshan Adil (1-52), Usman Qadir (1/80) and Sohaib Maqsood (1-17) the only bowlers from seven used to have any success.

Today, Duminy and Faf du Plessis (25*) resume the Proteas innings. The match conditions have both sides agreeing to declare after 100 overs each and with 10 overs remaining in their innings, the Proteas will want to push on at a healthy scoring rate.

It remains to be seen whether Robin Peterson and Vernon Philander get an opportunity to swing the willow.

Today should see the Proteas bowlers step up to the mark and if they can whittle out the Pakistan “A” batsmen with overs to spare, another lengthy time at the crease in their second innings would not be scoffed at by the Proteas.

Scores in brief

SA 332-3: Kallis 70, De Villiers 58, Petersen 58 (Ret), Amla 50 (Ret), Duminy 49*, Du Plessis 25*.

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