1 No spinner at Newlands!
South Africa were undecided about the final XI almost until the toss on Thursday morning, and ultimately went into the second Test without their specialist spinner Keshav Maharaj. Although it may still come back to haunt the hosts in the second innings, the decision paid immediate dividends, with the four-pronged pace attack dismissing Pakistan for 177 in just 51.1 overs.
2 Call me Duanne’s bunny!
Azhar Ali is Pakistan’s premier Test batsman. He averages 44.5 and has a top score of 305 not out. However, instead of showing the team’s younger batsmen how to deal with the South African pace onslaught in seaming conditions, Azhar has been all at sea against Duanne Olivier. The “enforcer” in the Proteas team has attacked Azhar with the short ball, and every time, the right-hander has been found wanting.
3 What a catch!
After the initial collapse, Pakistan were in the midst of a recovery through captain Sarfraz Ahmed and the impressive Shan Masood, when Quinton de Kock produced a sublime diving catch to his left to get rid of Masood.
Often De Kock has been accused of diving with only one hand, but on this occasion, he managed to get both gloves to the ball to scoop it open-handed. This precipitated a collapse that saw Pakistan lose their remaining five wickets for just 63 runs.
4 The next Vernon Philander? Nah...
Mohammed Abbas arrived in South Africa with a burgeoning reputation after claiming 62 wickets in his first 12 Tests. After missing the first Test at SuperSport Park through injury, his return at Newlands was billed as a shoot-out with Proteas star Vernon Philander. Abbas, though, was particularly disappointing as he delivered nine overs for 45 runs.
BOWLED. Markram's knock comes to an end on 78 at the hands of Shan. SA 123/2 after 30 overs. And with that, umpires call stumps.— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) January 3, 2019
It's been an excellent day of cricket from the Proteas.#SAvPAK#ProteaFire pic.twitter.com/AAeYwL81hm
5 Oh so cruel!
Aiden Markram easily looked the most assured batsman of either team on Day 1. He played with fluency either side of the wicket, and even used his feet against Yasir Shah with aplomb to dispatch the leg-spinner deep into the Presidents Pavilion. But cricket is a cruel game, and Markram found that out when he was dismissed with the very last ball of the day from part-timer Shan Masood for an excellent 78.@ZaahierAdams