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Olivier Outshines Steyn's Record-breaking Effort as Bowlers Dominate in Centurion

At the end of a 15-wicket day, South Africa were 127 for 5, still trailing Pakistan by 54 runs with Temba Bavuma and Dale Steyn in the middle. Pakistan had earlier been bowled out for 181, with Babar Azam slamming a quick 71 and Olivier picking 6 for 36. Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi then picked up two wickets each to leave the game in the balance.

Cricketnext Staff |December 26, 2018, 9:32 PM IST
Olivier Outshines Steyn's Record-breaking Effort as Bowlers Dominate in Centurion

Duanne Olivier took six wickets but Pakistan's pacers hit back on a bowler-dominated first day's play in the Boxing Day Test between South Africa and Pakistan in Centurion.

At the end of a 15-wicket day, South Africa were 127 for 5, still trailing Pakistan by 54 runs with Temba Bavuma and Dale Steyn in the middle. Pakistan had earlier been bowled out for 181, with Babar Azam slamming a quick 71 and Olivier picking 6 for 36. Mohammad Amir and Shaheen Afridi then picked up two wickets each to leave the game in the balance.

Pakistan opted to bat first but got off to a poor start as they lost their openers early. Imam-ul-Haq missed a full ball and was trapped leg before by Kagiso Rabada in the second over for a duck. Dale Steyn then had Fakhar Zaman caught at third slip for his 422nd Test wicket, becoming the leading wicket taker for South Africa in Tests.

Once Rabada and Steyn gave the initial strikes, Olivier took over. Shan Masood and Azhar Ali had a small partnership which Olivier broke with the former's wicket, having him bowled down leg side in a rather soft manner. Asad Shafiq was then trapped by one that nipped back in, and even a review didn't save him.

A lot depended on Azhar but he managed only 36 before he edged Olivier to third slip, where Theunis de Bruyn took a superb diving catch inches off the ground. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed then inside-edged one to the stumps, falling for nought and giving Olivier his fifth. Soon, the score became 111 for 8, and Pakistan were staring at a dismal score.

However, Babar Azam took charge in the company of Hasan Ali. He counter-attacked his way out of trouble, the duo adding 67 runs off just 58 balls for the ninth wicket.

Steyn bore the brunt of the attack - Azhar even slammed him for three fours in an over - and ended with an economy of over five runs an over. Rabada ended Azam's charge when he found the edge, bringing a swift end to the Pakistan innings.

South Africa might have had the upper hand at the innings break but it didn't take long for Pakistan to strike back. Hasan Ali started the fightback having Aiden Markram caught in the crease and lbw for 12. Soon, Mohammad Amir had Hashim Amla squared up and edging to gully.

Shaheen Afridi, the 19-year-old pacer, then had two in two to break the heart of South Africa's batting. Elgar first nicked to first slip, unsure whether to leave or play. Faf du Plessis then fell for a first-ball duck, playing with an angled bat and edging to gully.

De Bruyn survived the hat-trick ball and went on to add 69 for the fifth wicket with Bavuma, who scored quickly to keep Pakistan at bay. Amir then returned late in the day to dismiss de Bruyn, leaving the game interestingly poised.

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