Proteas left reeling at the end of day 2 against Pakistan
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa were reeling at 106/4 at stumps on day two of the second Test against Pakistan in Rawalpindi on Friday.
While all of the Proteas’ concerns with the bat have been about playing spin, it was the Pakistani seamers who did the damage, after the hosts had posted 272 in their first innings.
Hasan Ali took wickets off consecutive balls just before tea, removing Dean Elgar and Rassie van der Dussen, and then Shaheem Ashraf, after top scoring for Pakistan with 78 not out, picked up the wicket of Faf du Plessis, who played an awful shot at an innocuous delivery outside his off stump.
Aiden Markram battled hard to make 32, but then got outfoxed by Nauman Ali, who delivered from slightly wider on the crease, spun the ball hard, with Markram not prepared for either that spin or bounce and smacking the ball to mid-on.
There was a stunning late assault from Quinton de Kock, who raced to 24 off just 11 balls, furiously reverse slapping the spinners, while he also launched Yasir Shah over long off for six.
At the other end, Temba Bavuma, was much more measured finishing the day 15 not out.
He had his trouble against Nauman as well; Bavuma was dropped on one, by Mohammad Rizwan, was lucky to get away with an lbw shout, which would have been out had the home team reviewed, while he also had two close calls for catches.
South Africa had done well to restrict Pakistan to under 300 on a docile surface, with Anrich Nortje, picking up a richly deserved five-for, the third of his career and his first away from home.
The 27 year old fast bowler’s use of the bouncer on a flat and lifeless surface was hugely impressive. It demands a lot of a bowler physically to do so, especially when there is no help from the surface as is the case in Rawalpindi.
Nortje kept charging in, eventually finishing with 5/56 from 24.3 overs, his victims including the key wicket of Babar Azam - off the second ball of the day - while the other fours wickets all came with the short ball, which was delivered at pace and most importantly accurately throughout.
The other stand out performer for the Proteas was left arm spinner Keshav Maharaj, who came into the Test with a rib injury, which he said on Thursday was still causing him discomfort. Nevertheless he bowled a marathon 45 overs, conceding 90 runs and picking up three wickets. He had to carry the extra load because of the injury to George Linde, who only managed 5.5 overs.