Drop of the day
Whether they are simple or spectacular, catches more often than not win matches. If they don’t, they alter the shape and position of the match.
South Africa learnt the hard way when Dean Elgar shelled Asad Shafiq, who went on to score a test century. Younus Khan is one of the most reliable slip catchers Pakistan has had since Inzamam-ul-Haq. But he’ll have to earn that reputation again after he let a regulation Graeme Smith slip through his fingers off Umar Gul.
It allowed Smith to get off the mark but 0/1 would have been the ideal platform for Pakistan to have tacked the Proteas. Maybe Younus hadn’t woken up from a very satisfying lunch.
Catch of the day
South Africa’s fielding was not at its optimum but, in the first session, they swallowed everything that came their way. An easy catch was let slip by Faf du Plessis on the first day but there is something about difficult catches that gets fielders excited.
Alviro Petersen is proving to be an excellent cordon fielder and his one-handed catch to get rid of Sarfraz Ahmed bookmarked an improved fielding effort. The ball came off Sarfraz’s outside edge very quickly but an effortless movement to his right made a difficult catch look easy.
Ouch moment of the day
Azhar Ali is Pakistan’s specialist short leg fielder and it’s a position where they are in the wars. The pull shot is not a favoured shot because the low trajectory of the ball when the batsman tries to keep the shot down puts the fielder in the firing line.
Alviro Petersen’s pull came out of the middle of the bat and when Ali ducked the shot, it hit him on the roll of the protective pads, which didn’t cover the whole of his knee. He was in serious pain but he dusted himself off to take a typical but excellent catch and dismiss the selfsame Petersen off Saeed Ajmal.
Ball of the day
South Africa have previously been able to negotiate all the spinners coming their way. Even the very effective Graeme Swann was neutered, to the point where he was dropped for the second test in Headingley as England looked for a way to take 20 South Africa wickets.
They played Saeed Ajmal well when South Africa played Pakistan in the Emirates but, after the England series, the off-spinner seems to have gone up a notch.
None more so than his doosra that snared Faf du Plessis. It came out of Ajmal’s hand like a normal off-spinner only for it to pitch on middle and turn away from the batsman. Du Plessis groped wildly and the ball took his outside edge and Younus Khan took a superb catch at slip. Du Plessis was the fifth of Ajmal’s wickets.
Chris Broad moment of the day
Former England opener and now venerable match referee Chris Broad was not a walker in his day. In Pakistan he stood his ground after being out and Graham Gooch had to be ushered off the field.
Jacques Kallis is known to stand his ground when a decision does not go his way but when a Steve Davies decision to give him out caught at the wicket was referred it came back as a leg-before decision. An infuriated Kallis had a few words before he trudged off, shaking his head.
A date with match referee Jeff Crowe is highly likely.