Nortje on first subcontinent five-for: 'Taking one here makes it more special'

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Anrich Nortje
Anrich Nortje
  • Proteas fast bowler Anrich Nortje's third five-wicket haul in Tests kept South Africa in the game.
  • He took two wickets off consecutive balls to end Pakistan's innings on 272.
  • Nortje collected Pakistan's captain Babar Azam with the second ball of the day.

Proteas speedster Anrich Nortje admitted that his third five-wicket Test haul on the second day of the final Test was "even more special" by the fact that it was achieved in Asia.

Nortje took 5/56 in 24.3 overs as the fast bowler wrapped up the Pakistan tail by dismissing Nauman Ali (8) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (0).

Crucially, Nortje also removed Pakistan's captain Babar Azam (77) with the second ball of the day to stall any momentum while also accounting for the strangely subdued counter attacker that is Mohammed Rizwan (18).

He also collected Abid Ali's (6) scalp on the first day to leave Pakistan struggling at 22/3 before Azam and Fawad Alam (45) repaired the damage.

"Just the fact of being on the subcontinent has made it special. It's only been at the Wanderers and here, but taking one here makes it all the more special," said Nortje.

"It wasn't your typical wicket where there wasn't much bounce. There was something in your favour if you came in hard, but this five-for is very much high up there."

By bowling Pakistan out for 272 in 114.3 overs, the Proteas spent a fair bit of time on the field, but slowed the scoring and took wickets at regular intervals.

Getting rid of Pakistan's tail as easily as they've removed opener Abid and Imran Butt hasn't been achieved.

In the first Test, Alam and Faheem Ashraf (78*) were the main conspirators of South Africa's tail-end pain, with the latter being the thorn after Alam was dismissed.

Ashraf was at it again and this time remained unbeaten while cajoling more than 100 runs from the last five wickets.

The runs scored at the tail-end were the difference in the Karachi Test as they saw South Africa conceding a deficit of 158 runs.

There's no deficit now, but having Pakistan pinned down at 149/5, SA would have envisioned bowling Pakistan out for less than 200.

That didn't happen, but Nortje said their inability to extinguish Pakistan's tail quickly wasn't something they could control.

"I don't think it has become a problem. In the first Test, they had a lot of partnerships and that prevented us from getting back to back wickets," said the Proteas fast bowler.

"It's not something we can control. Focusing on our lines and lengths is controllable. I do think we really bowled well, even if we didn't get the wickets."

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