It’s the hope that kills you ... Proteas collapse to hand Pakistan series win

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Feb 8, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - Another innings, another batting collapse for the Proteas.

South Africa lost a Test series against Pakistan for the first time in 18 years with the batting - despite a top quality century from Aiden Markram and a hard-working 50 from Temba Bavuma - letting them down once again. In truth the second Test, like the first in Karachi, was lost in the first innings.

Just as being bowled out for 220 on the first day - after winning the toss - was inadequate, so was the 201 managed in Rawalpindi.

ALSO READ: Aiden Markram ton gives Proteas hope, but demons still lurk in Rawalpindi track

South Africa had created some hope for themselves; first with Markram and Rassie van der Dussen’s second wicket partnership of 94 and then Markram and Bavuma’s stand of 106 for the fourth wicket on Monday.

But looming over South Africa’s innings all the time, was the spectre of another collapse, a habit which has been formed over the last two years and something that demands deep introspectun from Cricket SA, the Proteas coaching staff and the players over the next few months.

ALSO READ: Proteas have to ’stay in the moment’ to pull off Rawalpindi miracle

Monday’s collapse would usually have been spectacular, were it not for the fact, that is the norm for this Proteas team.

Pakistan took the second new ball the moment it was available, six over after lunch on MOnday and it took seven balls to do damage.

Aiden Markram scored a character building century against Pakistan. Picture: Aamir Qureshi/AFP

Markram, having concentrated so fiercely for over four hours, and displayed such skill in defence and attack, had a momentary lapse in concentration, playing for Hassan Ali’s in-swing, the ball instead left him off the surface, and he should have left it alone, but poked at it, and the edge the ball to second slip, where Imran Butt held a good catch.

ALSO READ: Aiden Markram, Rassie van der Dussen give Proteas a glimmer of hope

Markram was understandably furious about his dismissal, but his innings of 108 should be a turning point for his Test career. He seems to have matured into a proper Test opener on this tour.

Quinton de Kock - regardless of how he bats - played an irresponsible shot to the first ball he faced, a ridiculous drive, that was edged to Butt as well.

Pakistan now had their tails up, the collapse ghost was right in the SA team’s dressing room, and wickets would tumble like a pack of dominoes. Bavuma edged Shaheen Afridi to Mohammad Rizwan to be out for 61 (125b, 6x4), George Linde drove Hassan to Shaheem Ashraf at point to give the bowler a ‘ten-for’, Shaheen took two more and Yasir Shah returned to clean bowl Wiaan Mulder.

Hassan finished the game with 10/114. Pakistan won by 95 runs. The Proteas collapse amounted to 7/33 in 11.4 overs.

@shockerhess

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