South Africa's Keshav Maharaj is bowled out by Pakistan's Hasan Ali (unseen) during the third day of the second Cricket Test match. Photo: EPA
South Africa's Keshav Maharaj is bowled out by Pakistan's Hasan Ali (unseen) during the third day of the second Cricket Test match. Photo: EPA

TEA: Proteas batting fails again, against Pakistan

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Feb 6, 2021

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South Africa’s batting failed again on Saturday as the Proteas gave up a 71-run lead to Pakistan, in the second Test in Rawalpindi.

At tea on the third day, Pakistan had stretched that lead to 113 runs, going into the interval on 42/2 with Azhar Ali on 22 and Babar Azam on 5. South Africa’s new ball pair; Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje bowled with great pace, with Rabada getting the reward when he had Imran Butt trapped lbw for nought.

Keshav Maharaj got in on the act just before tea when he had Abid Ali caught down legside by Quinton de Kock, the South Africa captain showing excellent skill and focus to poach the catch with the batsman, who scored 13, playing the sweep.

However it was another dreary performance with the bat that was centre of everyone’s attention at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. Having suffered two collapses in Karachi last week, this time the Proteas didn’t even get themselves into a position to collapse this time - although 5/37 to end the innings wasn’t good.

However by standards of recent years, that is just a mini-collapse. South Africa have deep batting problems, and it will take more than just Mark Boucher and Neil McKenzie, Cricket SA’s batting lead, to solve them.

The South African top order seemed to be caught between two strategies on Friday when the started batting, wanting to attack the new ball, before the spinners came onto bowl. It proved costly, with SA four down within 30 overs.

Then on Saturday, having lost Quinton de Kock, in the third over of the day, they then got a partnership going between Wiaan Mulder and Temba Bavuma, but the former ran himself out going for a second run. It was poor thinking on young Mulder’s part, especially as he’d played so well against both pace and spin.

Mulder made 33, and his partnership with Bavuma was worth 50, but once he was dismissed, Pakistan ran through the tail rapidly.

Bavuma ended not out on 44, another efficient effort, but there will rightly be question marks about how he bats with the tail.

Rabada joined Mulder in being run out, bringing to four the number of batsmen, South Africa have lost to run outs in this series - the most suffered by a South African side since 2005, when they faced England in a five match series.

Hasan Ali picked up the second ‘five-for’ of his career, making excellent use of reverse swing to bamboozle the tourists. Hasan finished with 5/54 from 15.4 overs.

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