CENTURION – The Proteas will be targeting any kind of first-innings lead when they resume on day two of the first Test against Pakistan on Thursday.
The first day’s play saw 15 wickets fall on a pitch providing plenty of help to a very fine collection of quick bowlers in both sides.
That Duanne Olivier should end the first day as the most successful of those fast bowlers might be a surprise, and he certainly stole some of Dale Steyn’s thunder on a day when the great man finally went passed Shaun Pollock’s South African record.
The match is wonderfully poised. Both teams are able to claim an advantage – South Africa for bowling the tourists out in two sessions, and Pakistan for destroying the Proteas’ top-order.
Pakistan ended the day with a lead of 54 runs, and with the pitch expected to break up in the highveld heat over the coming days, the prospect of batting last is an ominous one.
“The most important thing for us is to get a lead, it doesn’t matter how big, just getting a lead will put us in a good position,” Olivier said on Wednesday.
His maiden Test ‘five-for’ was the result of some aggressive short-pitched bowling, which saw him register figures of 6/37.
“I haven’t taken a ‘five-for’ this season, I was chuffed with my performance,” he added.
“Obviously for teams from the sub-continent, you will use your short ball a fair bit. It’s how I like to do things, it’s a strength of mine, so I was just backing my strengths.”
The surface was soft on day one, allowing the ball to create indentations which will harden in the hot sun, making for inconsistent bounce as the game continues.
“There are some cracks out there, which will open up further as the pitch bakes, so it will be difficult,” said Olivier.
Thank you so much Allan!! Much appreciated 💪 https://t.co/M2svksDG9W— Duanne (@Duanne992) December 26, 2018
Shaheen Shah Afridi said the Pakistanis were delighted with their fightback in the final session, in which they claimed five Proteas wickets.
“Our bowling has been very good so far,” said the 19-year-old, who finished with two wickets, including dismissing South African captain Faf du Plessis first ball.
“Batting first was difficult, but I think we did very well. We will have to come again tomorrow and play just as well.”@shockerhess