Cape Town – Azhar Ali and captain Misbah-ul-Huq consolidated Pakistan’s second innings to give them a lead of 112 runs at stumps on day three of the second Test at Newlands, in Cape Town, on Saturday.
After losing two early wickets with only seven runs on the board, the pair steered Pakistan to 100 for three at the close of play, sharing an unbeaten 55-run stand for the fourth wicket.
The innings started badly for Pakistan when Mohammad Hafeez played across the line and Dale Steyn’s delivery hit him flush in front of the stumps. The finger went up before Pakistan had a run on the board.
Vernon Philander, running in from the Wynberg End, struck Nasir Jamshed high on the pads in the next over. He took too long to decide whether or not to review the decision and left the field also having made a duck.
Younus Khan and Ali added 38 runs for the third wicket when Younus (14), who made a century in the first innings, played a loose shot to Steyn and saw the ball trickle back onto his stumps.
Steyn bagged two for 24 while Morne Morkel limped off again, aggravating the hamstring which troubled him the previous day.
South Africa were all out for 326 with the biggest contribution coming from Robin Peterson, who made 84. He came to the wicket with the score on 164/6 and batted with the tail to reduce the first innings deficit to just 12 runs.
He shared an eighth-wicket stand with Vernon Philander (22) worth 67 runs and was eventually caught by Umar Gul at long-on off a top edge to Hafeez.
Peterson took 56 balls to bring up his second Test half-century – his first in a decade – and went on to achieve his highest Test score.
His previous best was 61, against Bangladesh in 2002/03.
Resuming the day on 139 for five, AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar added 55 runs for the sixth wicket, off 152 balls.
While Umar Gul showed his frustration after De Villiers was dropped on 34, by Ali in the gully, it was Saeed Ajmal who added to his overnight five-wicket haul and broke the partnership.
Ajmal gave the ball a bit more flight, enticing the drive, but Elgar (23) did not get enough bat on it and sent his outside edge to Younus at slip.
De Villiers smashed his sixth boundary to reach his half-century off 91 balls, but the contest between batsman and bowler continued as Ajmal followed up with an excellent ball, beating the bat with his doosra.
It was the seven foot paceman, Mohammad Irfan, making his Test debut, who got De Villiers, on 61, after he spooned a delivery to Umar Gul at mid-on.
Irfan was a little unlucky not to get Philander for a caught behind but the delivery was deemed to be a no-ball. However, replays showed it was a legitimate delivery and the batsman was yet to score.
Irfan finished on three wickets for 86 on a flat pitch and Pakistan would regret not picking him for the first Test where the Wanderers pitch assisted the seamers.
It was off-spinner Ajmal though, who starred for the visitors, bagging six for 96 off 42 overs. – Sapa