Recent Match Report - Pakistan vs South Africa 2nd Test 2020/21

Recent Match Report – Pakistan vs South Africa 2nd Test 2020/21


Babar Azam and Fawad Alam steadied the hosts after they lost three wickets for just one run

Pakistan 63 for 3 (Babar 24*, Fawad 16*) vs South Africa

Keshav Maharaj took two wickets in 10 balls as South Africa claimed three wickets for one run to leave Pakistan reeling after they elected to bat first in Rawalpindi. Despite talk that the pitch would suit seamers, early signs showed that the dry surface turned more than Karachi and South Africa’s frontline spinner enjoyed early success.

Maharaj is only the second South African spinner to take two wickets in the first 15 overs of a Test, after Reggie Schwartz in 1906, and he could have claimed one as early as his first ball. When he was brought into the attack in the eighth over, Maharaj immediately had Imran Butt pressing forward to defend a ball that turned away and took the edge but Temba Bavuma, at first slip, put it down.

The let off did not help Pakistan though, as Butt and Abid Ali accumulated only 21 before Maharaj had Butt caught behind. Their highest opening stand so far remains 22. In his next over, Maharaj had Azhar Ali defending for turn against a ball that went straight on and was out lbw for a duck.

It was not all spin though. Anrich Nortje, who delivered a seven-over spell with good intent, dismissed Abid thanks to a stunning catch by Aiden Markram at short leg. Nortje angled the ball into Abid’s body at waist height and his attempt to flick it to fine leg turned into an inside-edge. Markam had to dive low to his right to complete the catch and he did, leaving Pakistan on 22 for 3 with Babar Azam and Fawad Alam yet to score a run.

Babar took back-to-back boundaries off Maharaj, who dismissed him in both innings in Karachi, and Fawad flicked Nortje for four and with those three boundaries of three balls, the pair’s intent to settle Pakistan was clear. But it was not without its nerves. Fawad was undone by flight from Linde and missed a drive as the ball carried to slip, and tried another booming drive off Maharaj and was beaten. In-between that, they struck some confident boundaries and with Babar starting to unleash the drive, South Africa will be wary of letting him get away especially as they may be a bowler down.

George Linde left the field in the 23rd over, with a ball to bowl in his third over, with what appeared to be an injury to the little finger on his left hand. He was seen in the changeroom on the physiotherapist’s bed, looking in some pain. Dean Elgar, also slow-left arm, completed the over and bowled one more, with allrounder Wiaan Mulder yet to make an appearance with the ball.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

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