The Proteas seem to reserve their collapses for the Wanderers.
As much as it is the premier cricket ground in the country, it seems to spook the South African middle order and prevent the batsmen from making starts.
Day one’s collapse was not as calamitous as the one that happened in the Australia test, where six wickets tumbled for just 25 runs, but it was a collapse nonetheless.
Winning the toss and batting first made sense to Faf du Plessis, one of the few batsmen who applied himself and was rather unfortunate to lose his wicket.
“We knew the first little bit with the new ball was always going to be challenging and it was going to move around but there were definite cracks. There is a lot happening on it for day one. Those are good signs for us and we don’t have to bat last on it,” Du Plessis said.
“There were a fair few balls in my innings that kept low. One of Saeed Ajmal’s ball’s bounced and scorned me a bit but there is something happening and because it is day one, it can only get worse.”
The track was never a minefield, but it demanded application and respect has to be given to the opposition, as Pakistan bowled very well in admittedly favourable conditions early on before discipline saw them through at the end of the day.
With the pitch now firmly ensconced in Du Plessis’ mind, he reckoned that 300 is a par score. He added that the bottom six did not add enough runs.
“In the position we were in at about 200/4, we should have got more runs. Myself and AB (de Villiers) had a good partnership going. I don’t know exactly how many runs we got for the last six wickets but it wasn’t enough runs from the bottom six,” said Du Plessis.
“One thing the Pakistanis do have are great spinners and if you have Ajmal bowling at you and spinning it both ways, it’s quite tough. It is important for the rest of the series that when we do get an opportunity with a partnership, we have to take it deep because it is tough for the new guys coming in.”