Pakistan slump to lowest Test total

South Africa's Bowlers Made Life Near To Impossible For Pakistan

AGENCIES

Johannesburg, Feb 2: If Pakistan were under the impression that South Africa would be obliging hosts after day one at the Wanderers, they were quickly disabused of that notion by a Dale Steyn-led wrecking job that saw them dismissed for the their lowest total in Tests. Graeme Smith then chose to bludgeon home South Africa's advantage with the bat, eschewing the option of the follow-on and adding an unbeaten 43 in his 100th Test as captain to help his team to a 277-run lead at tea.
On a pitch that was offering assistance for the seamers, Smith and Alviro Peterson ground their way past a half-century opening stand, in the process eclipsing the 49 Pakistan had scraped together in the first half of the day. Smith, of course, did not have to face Steyn but he opted to spare Pakistan a repeat of their first-innings trial to avoid the prospect of having to bat in the fourth innings against spin. Pakistan will need something special from more than just Saeed Ajmal if they are to avoid a heavy defeat in Johannesburg.
Steyn took 6 for 8, his 20th five-wicket haul in Tests, in an extraordinary, lethal display either side of lunch, as Pakistan were confounded by pace, swing and bounce. Nine wickets fell caught behind the wicket, with six victims for AB de Villiers equalling the record for a South Africa wicketkeeper; Steyn, in particular, bowled a line of beauty and Pakistan quivered along at less than two runs an over. Remarkably, this was the third time in 15 months that South Africa have bowled out a side for less than 50, after the routs of New Zealand and Australia at Cape Town.
As South Africa ascended to the No. 1 Test ranking over the last year, the sight of their dominance has become increasingly familiar. They dispatched England and Australia in their own backyards and Smith's team are now relishing the chance to display their talents in front of home crowds. The only disappointment for the Johannesburg locals may be that this contest - like the two Tests against New Zealand last month - is unlikely to go anywhere near the distance.
The Pakistan innings could not have resembled a horror show any more had Freddy Krueger been spotted in the stands. As ever, Steyn was a batsman's nightmare incarnate, his opening spell decapitating the Pakistan top-order in a manner worthy of any slasher flick to leave them 12 for 3. After lunch arrived with Pakistan clinging on at 40 for 7, Steyn returned to stamp on their fingers and send them hurtling into the abyss. His relentless display produced six wickets and 39 dot balls - and only allowed three scoring shots - in 8.1 overs of mesmeric bowling. He now has 19 wickets at 8.31 from two and a half Tests in 2013. Perhaps, with South Africa's light Test programme this year, he has decided to stockpile them early.
A partnership of 24 in almost 14 overs between Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq for the fourth wicket was the wafer-thin mint of comfort for Pakistan, before the darkness swallowed them up again. Their last seven wickets fell for 13 runs and the roar of the crowd becoming a blanket of white noise.
Mohammad Hafeez was the first to go, set up by a back-of-a-length delivery that seared past the edge and over the stop of off stump. The next ball, the 11th of the morning, was fuller and wider, pulling Hafeez across and into a fateful flirt. His opening partner, Nasir Jamshed, did not last much longer, pinned in front of leg stump by an inswinger two balls after surviving a review to a similar delivery from Vernon Philander that was judged to have been passing over the top.
Jamshed's debut was ended on 2 but experience was no defence against Steyn's weapons and he amassed further destruction with the final ball of the sixth over, as a full delivery left Younis Khan to take the outside edge.
Pakistan had been billed as the main event during the South African Test summer, after New Zealand were packed up and dispatched with indecent haste. That theory had been bolstered on the first day, as Pakistan's bowlers showed why they are so highly regarded, but the real test was to be of the batsmen. A spell of seven consecutive maidens - and 47 balls without a run from the bat - showed just how difficult the South Africa syllabus can be.
Azhar and Misbah have both played dogged innings in the past but the former was surprised by a brute of a lifter from Jacques Kallis. Even when Steyn and Vernon Philander were removed from the attack, there was no release. Misbah, having been hit on the forearm, the stomach and the hands, was channelling all his qualities of resistance but he was dislodged after a successful South Africa review. The ball was slightly short and wide but there was a feather of an edge, detectable only by Hot Spot - de Villiers, the wicketkeeper, didn't even appeal. There was an element of controversy, too, after Faf du Plessis had survived a similar review on the first day.

Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 2 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 3 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST




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