South Africa gain upper hand on eventful day




Philander picked up two quick wickets before stumps.

Philander picked up two quick wickets before stumps. © Getty

In what turned out to be a roller-coaster Day 1 with fortunes swinging wildly back and forth for both teams, Pakistan made a stunning comeback in the final session as the hosts collapsed to be bowled out for 262. However, Vernon Philander struck twice at the fag end of the day to keep the home team in front.

At the start of the final session, South Africa were in the ascendancy with the score reading 226 for 3. It was Mohammad Abbas who started the slide by bowling with unremitting control to trouble the duo of Zubayr Hamza (41) and Theunis de Bruyn (49).

Abbas also induced Hamza to edge one behind only for Sarfraz Ahmed to put down the chance. However, his perseverance bore fruit in his very next over as he prised de Bruyn out LBW. The wicket of de Bruyn triggered a major collapse. Mohammad Amir followed it up by sending Temba Bavuma back to the hut.

Hamza, who had batted with purpose on his Test debut, edged one off Amir. Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali then took over to rip through the lower-middle-order to clean up the hosts. Philander, though, extracted subtle seam movement to snuff out Shan Masood and Azhar Ali to ensure South Africa maintained the ascendancy.

Earlier, after the home team elected to bat, Abbas struck early by dislodging the stand in captain Dean Elgar. At that stage, Amla and Markram joined forces to put the hosts back on track. On a wicket that was on the slower side, Makram showcased his penchant for driving by cracking a slew of shots. In the 11th over, he essayed the punch and pull off Hasan Ali to collect three fours. He soon reached his fifty with a trademark cover drive off Faheem Ashraf.

The highlight of Markram’s eye-catching exhibition of strokeplay was when he caressed an immaculate drive in the 23rd over that scurried away to the fence. At the Lunch beak, Amla and Markram looked set to stitch a massive stand but the former fell to a strangle down the leg side and Shadab Khan removed Amla to keep Pakistan in the game.

During the first two sessions, the lack of discipline cost Pakistan before they came back strong. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take advantage of the good work done by the bowlers by losing two quick wickets.

Brief scores: South Africa 262 (Aiden Markram 90; Faheem Ashraf 3-57) lead Pakistan 17/2 (Vernon Philander 2-1) by 245 runs

© Cricbuzz


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