SA versus Pakistan: plays of the day
As the Test between the Proteas and Pakistan heads into the second day, Khanyiso Tshwaku selects his plays of day one.
Catch of the day
Pakistan and fielding are like chalk and cheese. But a few scribes in the box found themselves talking about Pakistan’s improved levels of fielding.
When a team has had the likes of Inzamam-ul-Haq, Ijaz Ahmed and Mohammad Yousuf – lazy fielders of note – it does not do your reputation any good.
Having just reached 50, Jacques Kallis chanced his arm on a short Umar Gul delivery. It was wide of off stump and he did not middle it. Asad Shafiq, one of Pakistan’s young guns, hared in from the deep square leg boundary to take an excellent catch.
Double take of the day
Cameron van der Burgh’s astonishing win at the London Olympic Games has all but been forgotten in the midst of Graeme Smith’s 100th-Test-as-captain milestone. He bears an uncanny resemblance to the Proteas captain.
If a spectator was not accustomed to Smith’s hulking frame, Van der Burgh could have well been mistaken for the Test captain. The 100m Olympic breaststroke champion was given the honour of ringing the bell to signal the start of play.
Wasted reviews of the day
1. Not many edges came the way of Sarfraz Ahmed, except for Graeme Smith’s one, which he took with consummate ease.
Pakistan’s bowlers beat the bat with regularity but Rahat Ali, the debutant, was not one of those. Whenever he strayed full or short, the South African batsmen cashed in. One of the few ones he got in the right place went perilously close past Faf du Plessis’ hanging bat.
It was close enough and the celebrations were vigorous enough to convince Misbah-ul-Haq to review. But there wasn’t enough evidence on hot spot to make third umpire Steve Davis overrule on-field umpire Billy Bowden.
2. Saeed Ajmal did not get much assistance from the track except for the true bounce the Wanderers almost always offers. He was the one bowler the Proteas tackled comfortably and he tried by all means to manufacture a wicket. One of those was by strangling AB de Villiers down the leg side.
It nearly worked when the off spinner and Sarfraz Ahmed went up in unison. Again, Billy Bowden was unmoved. Steve Davis again proved Bowden right and Pakistan’s reviews were gone like the rain clouds that gathered just after lunch.
Mark Taylor moment of the day
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor had this incredible hunch of bringing on a part-time bowler whom he instinctively knew would get him a wicket.
They often didn’t disappoint him and the wickets they took changed the shape of matches.
Hashim Amla is one of the most prized wickets going in Test cricket.
No one would have put a wager on Younus Khan getting South Africa’s banker but he did, with Amla middling a long hop to Azhar Ali at short gully.
For a stiff mover like Ali, it was an excellent catch to wrap an unlikely wicket.