Johannesburg – Four wickets in the last session by Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan dismiss South Africa for 253 in their first innings on day one of the first Test in Johannesburg on Friday.
It was a masterstroke of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Huq to bring on the offbreak bowler in the 71st over, as he removed AB de Villiers with his first ball.
Attempting to drive the ball, De Villiers, 31, got a thick outside edge and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed did well to catch the ball off the wide deflection.
Hafeez then took the new ball and removed Robin Peterson (0), Dean Elgar (27) and finally Morne Morkel (0) to return his best Test figures of 4/16.
De Villiers and Faf du Plessis came together before tea when South Africa were beginning to wobble with four wickets down for 135. The pair added 64 runs, off 148 balls, giving an indication of how difficult it was to score runs.
Du Plessis survived an appeal for caught behind when he was on 17.
There was a clear noise but nothing showed up on the HotSpot replay and the batsman was given the benefit of the doubt.
The Pakistan captain then brought back Junaid Khan and Du Plessis’ luck ran out when he played a good defensive shot which spun back rolling onto his middle stump, ending his innings on 41.
When Pakistan used their second and last review – on a ball which De Villiers clearly indicated had come off his pad – no mark showed up on the HotSpot camera either, causing some concern as to whether or not the technology was working.
Ranked the top one-day and Twenty20 bowler in the world, and third behind Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander in Tests, spinner Saeed Ajmal was wicketless but he kept the run-rate down, conceding 68 runs off his 23 overs, allowing the pressure to mount on the batsmen.
Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis combined for 79 runs off 124 balls for the third wicket and they looked in control until Kallis (50) pulled a short ball from Umar Gul. Asad Shafiq, running to his left from deep midwicket, took an outstanding diving catch, at full stretch, to end his innings.
It was a massive wicket for Pakistan after Kallis, who got off the mark with a boundary and smashed another eight fours, had reached his 58th Test half-century and looked to be in top form.
During his innings, he scored his 13 000th Test run for South Africa.
Although he already celebrated the milestone in Cape Town in January, in the first Test against New Zealand, it had included runs scored for the one-off World XI Test against Australia.
Amla gifted Younis Khan his wicket, after making 37, although it took another superb catch to get rid of him, this time from Asad Shafiq at gully.
The Pakistani pace bowlers were able to find some swing and movement off the pitch and asked plenty of questions in the morning session, particularly in the first six overs.
Opting to bat first, the hosts scored just 27 runs in the first hour while Junaid Khan enjoyed an excellent opening spell.
After seeing off the shine and starting to settle, Alviro Petersen, looking to play Khan towards the leg side, got a leading edge to third slip and was gone for 24.
Four balls later, Graeme Smith was dismissed for 24 when he got an outside edge to Umar Gul which went straight through to the keeper.
Pakistan faced two overs at the end of the day, and will resume on six without loss on Saturday. – Sapa