Proteas recover after early setbacks

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Pakistan_Smith Gallo Images Ehsan Adil of Pakistan celebrates after taking the wicket of Proteas captain Graeme Smith.

Centurion – Despite an early breakthrough by the opposition, Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis steered South Africa to lunch on 104/2, on the opening day of the third Test against Pakistan in Centurion on Friday.

Pakistan’s inexperienced bowling attack struck early and removed the opening pair of Graeme Smith and Alviro Petersen in the 10th over.

Coming into the match, Pakistan’s frontline seamers boasted two matches between the three of them.

Left-armer Rahat Ali made his debut in the first Test of the series, at the Wanderers. After remaining wicketless and conceding a 100 runs, he made way for Mohammad Irfan, playing his first Test at Newlands.

Taking 3/86 in the first innings, he showed his potential on the faster South African tracks.

A last minute injury to Umar Gul and the decision to drop Tanvir Ahmed gave 19-year-old Ehsan Adil a chance to experience Test cricket for the first time in this match.

The rookies stepped up to the task and Rahat trapped Petersen in front of leg stump, giving Rahat his first Test wicket.

Petersen had made 10 runs and South Africa were 13/1 after 15 minutes of play.

Adil grabbed Smith’s wicket with only his third ball in Test cricket.

Smith, on five, got an outside edge which ballooned closer towards first slip and Younus, standing at second, moved swiftly across his captain to snatch the catch.

Opting for a fourth seamer instead of another batsman to replace the injured Jacques Kallis, South Africa looked to be in a shaky position on 38/2.

Amla, together with Faf du Plessis, came to the rescue adding an unbeaten 66 for the third wicket.

Amla reached his 27th half-century off 76 balls just before lunch and Du Plessis was on 29. – Sapa

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