Dubai - It was the Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers show here at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday as the duo put South Africa into a strong position to win the second Test and level the two-match series 1-1, in the process extending their unbeaten run to 13 series.
The plan to bat for as long as possible, plus get the scoreboard ticking over – in order to build a huge first innings lead – and then bowl out Pakistan for a second time on the third day, came together.
The pair scored almost at will as day two ended with South Africa finishing on 460/4 with six first innings wickets intact after they had bowled out Pakistan on the opening day for 99.
More important was the fact they have a massive lead of 361 – enough for their bowlers to strike against the Pakistan batting for a second time on a pitch which is fast deteriorating.
But that lead is still not enough for the South African captain who said he will need to sleep over it, talk to his players and more than likely bat another full session before declaring.
“I’m not sure yet. I need to think about it overnight and chat to the guys. Ideally we'd like to bat once in this game – that would be goal No 1. We would also like the wicket to deteriorate a little more – it's very dry – so we will definitely bat the morning session,” a tired and drained Smith said afterwards.
“We’ll have a good plan when we get here early tomorrow (Friday).”
Smith scored the fifth double century of his career while De Villiers, who survived a first ball catch – he was dropped by Adnan Akmal off Mohammad Irfan – and the two leg before decisions on review, plus a run- out appeal when he was on 130, smashed 157 not out.
The South African captain has scored double hundreds against Bangladesh (2), England (2) and now the fifth against Pakistan. When he reached 200, Smith also went past the 9 000-run mark in Test cricket.
Smith and De Villiers also set a new South African fifth-wicket record, eclipsing the Jacques Kallis-Ashwell Prince stand of 267 against the West Indies in Antigua in 2005, as they put on 326 to reach close of play.
De Villiers in the process scored his fourth ton against Pakistan – his others came at Abu Dhabi (2010), Joburg and Centurion (both 2013). - Cape Argus