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Centurion – Kyle Abbot, who took seven wickets on debut, delivered a dream performance, according to AB de Villiers, after South Africa enforced the follow-on in the third Test against Pakistan on Saturday.
Pakistan were left reeling at 14 for one, still trailing by 239 runs in their second innings, at stumps on day three.
“Kyle has a lot of control and knows what he wants to do with the ball,” De Villiers said of the rookie paceman who took 7/29.
“He hits the deck really hard and makes the batter play a lot. Kyle delivered everything a captain dreams about and he did himself proud today.”
De Villiers said it was an amazing performance and what the Proteas expected to find at Test level.
“He found the outside edge, which was great, and got a few big wickets for us, making really important breakthroughs, and hopefully there will be more of the same tomorrow.”
It was a rich compliment coming from the man who scored his 16th Test century on the same day and took South Africa over their initial target of 300 runs in their first innings.
“We were under a bit of pressure when I came in yesterday, at 107/3, and I knew we needed some partnerships to get a good score,” he said.
“We felt 300 was par on this deck and it was a very hard fought day. I thought we batted really well to get 334 overnight, which was already more than we were aiming at, so getting over 400 was a really good score on this deck.”
De Villiers said he enjoyed batting with the tail and forming partnerships which frustrated the bowlers. He shared two half-century stands with Hashim Amla and Robin Peterson, and his 129-run stand with Vernon Philander was key to getting the score over the 400 mark.
After South Africa made 409 in their first innings, Pakistan were bowled out for 156 and captain Graeme Smith made the surprising decision to enforce the follow-on.
“We all thought about not having to bat last on this deck and face the “Ajmal” factor,” De Villiers said about Pakistan spin wizard Saeed Ajmal.
“So hats off to Graeme – it was a very positive move. A lot of captains would have been tempted to bat the opposition out of the game and to bowl last on this deck.
“He’s shown a lot of confidence in his boys and hopefully we can follow through tomorrow and the ball will move around in the morning session like it did today.”
The Proteas could not have wished for a better start to Pakistan’s second innings, with Dale Steyn removing Mohammad Hafeez off the first delivery.
It was Hafeez’s second duck of the tour and he totalled 43 runs in his six innings.
“I feel that I've really worked hard with my batting but, unfortunately, I've got some good balls throughout the whole series,” Hafeez said.
“It's crucial as always as an opener to score runs. I've been working really hard in the nets and hopefully the things will start working for me.
“He said the South African bowling unit had done all their basics well and were pitching in the right areas.
“I feel that the credit goes to them for the way they have been bowling throughout the series, showing why they are the number one Test team in the world.
“The credit also goes to the debutant Abbott. He bowled really well today.” – Sapa