Day 1 review: Aiden Markram scored a half century on the opening day of the second Test at Newlands against Pakistan on Thursday as South Africa reached 123-2 at stumps.
The Proteas are currently just 54 runs behind Pakistan after Sarfraz Ahmed’s men – put in to bat after Faf du Plessis won the toss – suffered another batting collapse and were bundled out after just two sessions on the first day.
Markram and his opening partner Dean Elgar put together a 55-run stand for the opening wicket but Elgar was the first to depart after edging one to Sarfraz behind the stumps off Mohammad Amir’s bowling.
Hashim Amla then joined Markram in the middle and the two looked like they would see out the remaining overs without much fuss but the latter was bowled on 78 on the final ball of the day by Shan Masood.
But earlier in the day it was pacer Duanne Olivier who did the damage for South Africa once again, taking four wickets as the visitors folded for a paltry 177 when tea was taken.
Olivier ended the first innings with figures of 4-48, a performance that will only bring more attention to him after he bagged 11 wickets in the first Test in Pretoria, which the hosts won by six wickets.
South Africa went into the Test with an all-out seam attack and the tactic worked wonders as they snared five quick wickets before lunch and then mopped up the remaining half of the side after the second session was extended.
For Pakistan, it was another forgettable outing with the bat as only skipper Sarfraz Ahmed – who top-scored for them 56 – and Shan Masood (44) offered a lick of resistance in a 60-run partnership after lunch before a brilliant catch from wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock tipped the scales in favour of the home side.
Pakistan were 75-5 at lunch but a fightback seemed possible thanks to the partnership between Ahmed and Masood, with the former playing a knock that was both solid and kept the scoreboard ticking.
However, any chance of a big partnership bringing Pakistan back into the game was snuffed out when Masood was spectacularly caught by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock off the bowling of Kagiso Rabada.
Olivier then removed Sarfraz, who was aiming to fight fire with fire but ended up playing a needless shot and will once again bring up questions about his future as skipper despite him scoring his 17th half century in the longest format of the game.
Olivier, who is playing only his seventh Test, then removed Yasir Shah cheaply before Dale Steyn cleaned up the tail in the extended second session.
Steyn took 3-48 with Rabada returning figures of 2-35 and Vernon Philander 1-36, on his return to the side after injury.
Commentary (South Africa innings)
Another clinical performance from the hosts and they have won another series as well. They completely dominated the 2 Test matches and now would be looking for a whitewash. Pakistan on the other hand will try and avoid that. Will they be able to do so? Join us on the 11th of January at 1000 local (0800 GMT) to find out. Till then, take care and goodbye!
South African skipper and Man of the Match, Faf du Plessis, starts by saying he is happy he finally got a ton on his favorite ground. Further adds it is an amazing stadium and he is delighted he got a ton here. Mentions it was a gutsy effort from his team. States they enjoy playing here as the crowd is always right behind them. Reckons they are doing well at home and they want to keep the good work up. He feels the wicket got easier to bat on as the days progressed and he was fortunate to win the toss. All-in-all he says the wicket was good for both, the batters and the bowlers. Informs playing 4 pacers was their plan and it worked out quite well for them. Ends by saying he still feels the pressure of not scoring a lot, he remembered the good innings he has played and managed to do well here.
Pakistan skipper, Sarfraz Ahmed, says they did not have enough runs on the board in the first innings and they weren't able to restrict the South Africans too. Reckons the first couple of hours was really tough on Day 1 and they could not cope with it. Feels a couple more of practice matches before the Test series would have helped. He hopes of doing well in the third Test.
An innings defeat looked certain especially when Pakistan went into Lunch on Day 3 after losing two wickets. But half tons from Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and Shan Masood saved their blushes. Especially the partnership between Masood and Shafiq which accounted for 132 runs. They did manage to worry the South Africans for a little while but a cluster of wickets in the last session on Day 3 with Rababad and Steyn both picking 4 each, saw the home side needing 41 on Day 4 which they knocked off easily. Stay tuned for the presentation.
In reply, it seemed, the hosts were batting on a completely different wicket. They had three batsman scoring fifties and their skipper, leading from the front with an outstanding ton. They batted close to 125 overs and took a big lead of 254.
It was a combined effort from them. Their bowlers first, justified their skipper's decision by bundling the visitors out for a paltry total. All the pacers picked a wicket at least, Steyn and Olivier were the pick as the former finished with a three-fer and the latter with a four-fer.
End of a commanding performance by an impressive team on home soil. Also, it is South Africa's 7th series win in a row at home. This was never in doubt when they came out to bat today morning, it was just a matter of how long will they take and it took them 59 balls to knock off these 41 runs. They did lose de Bruyn and Amla did walk off injured but Faf and Elgar ensured they complete the job and seal the series with a game to go.
9.5 A Ali to D Elgar, FOUR! Drags it short around leg, Elgar pulls it through fine leg for a boundary. AND SOUTH AFRICA WIN THE TEST MATCH AND LEAD THE SERIES 2-0. 43/1
9.4 Ali to Elgar, FOUR! Super response from Elgar. Fuller delivery on off, Elgar smashes it over the bowlers head and through mid on for a boundary. Protea require 2 more runs to win the Test match. 39/1
9.3 A Ali to Elgar, Good length on middle, Elgar tucks it towards mid-wicket 35/1
9.2 A Ali to Elgar, Outside off, Dean lets it go. 35/1
9.1 A Ali to Elgar, What a delivery to start with. Length delivery swinging away. Elgar tries to defend it, but it goes past the outside edge of the bat. 35/1
Azhar Ali is on.
8.6 M Amir to Plessis, A bumper but it is down leg side, du Plessis avoids it. 35/1
8.5 M Amir to Plessis, Shortish again and once more it is angling across Faf. He tries to defend but the ball takes an outside edge and goes on the bounce to the slip fielder. He had played that with soft hands. 35/1
8.4 M Amir to Plessis, Back of a length, angling across the right-hander. Faf defends it off the back foot. 35/1
8.3 M Amir to D Elgar, Another short one on the body, Elgar mistimes his pull towards fine leg for a single. A biggie away now. 35/1
8.2 M Amir to Elgar, Very short this time and Elgar watches it go to the keeper. 34/1
8.1 M Amir to Elgar, FOUR! JUST OVER! This time there was glove involved but it went over the keeper. Short and on the body, Elgar goes for the pull but it takes the top edge and goes over the keeper for a boundary. 7 more needed. 34/1
7.6 M Abbas to Elgar, A touch short on middle and leg, Dean works it around the corner for a run. 30/1
7.5 M Abbas to D Elgar, Goes short again on middle, Elgar pulls it through fine leg for a couple of runs. 29/1
Pakistan review for a caught behind! They feel that Elgar has gloved this. The umpire though feels different. Let us see who is right.
7.4 M Abbas to Elgar, NOT OUT! Elgar survives. Short of a length delivery on middle and leg, Egar tries to pull it, but it hits something and goes to the keeper. Sarfraz immediately goes for the review. He think it has hit his bat. The replay shows it hits his arm guard and Pakistan lose the review. 27/1
7.3 M Abbas to Elgar, Bouncer on middle, Elgar ducks underneath it. 27/1
7.2 M Abbas to Plessis, Good shot! Fuller on off, du Plessis drives it through mid off, the batsmen run hard and get three runs in the process. Faf is off the mark with that. 27/1
7.1 M Abbas to Elgar, Length delivery on off, Elgar taps it towards point for a quick single. 24/1
6.6 M Amir to Plessis, Similar delivery, Faf defends it off the back foot. South Africa need 18 runs to win the game. 23/1
6.5 M Amir to Plessis, Back of a length on middle, du Plessis defends it from within the crease. 23/1
Physios are on the field to have a look at Hashim Amla. This is taking some time now. Amla looks in some serious pain, his arm is quite swollen. He has now decided not to continue batting as he is seen walking off the field. Faf du Plessis is making his way out bat.
6.4 M Amir to Amla, NASTY! That too has taken off, this time though it has hit Amla. Just behind a length on off, Amla tries to shoulder arms with his bat pointing skywards. The ball though rises after pitching and hits Amla on his arm. That surely must have hurt. 23/1
6.3 M Amir to Elgar, Short again on middle and leg, Elgar pulls it through square leg for a run. 23/1
6.2 M Amir to Elgar, Short of a length around off, the batsman does well to leave that bouncer. 22/1
6.1 M Amir to Elgar, FOUR! Shot! A touch full on off, Elgar leans forward and drives it firmly through covers and the ball races away to the fence. 22/1
5.6 M Abbas to Amla, Fuller on off, Amla keeps it out. 18/1
5.5 M Abbas to Elgar, Length delivery around middle and leg, Elgar tucks it around the corner for a single. 18/1
5.4 M Abbas to Elgar, Back of a length delivery outside off, Dean shoulders arms to it. 17/1
5.3 M Abbas to Elgar, Bouncer from Abbas on middle, Elgar ducks it at the last moment. 17/1
5.2 M Abbas to Elgar, Fuller delivery on off, Elgar defends it with a straight bat. 17/1
5.1 M Abbas to Elgar, Outside off, Elgar lets it go. 17/1
4.6 M Amir to Amla, A delivery outside off to finish, Amla leaves it alone. 17/1
4.5 M Amir to Elgar, On middle, It is nudged towards mid on for a quick run. 17/1
4.4 M Amir to Elgar, Length around off, Elgar defends it off the front foot. 16/1
4.3 M Amir to Elgar, Good length on off, Elgar keeps it out. 16/1
4.3 M Amir to Elgar, NO BALL! FOUR BYES! It has been given no for another delivery being bowled above the head height. It is short and it takes off after pitching. Goes over the batsman's head, over Sarfraz and into the fine leg fence once again. Bonus runs these. 12/1
4.2 M Amir to Elgar, This time it is a well-directed bouncer! Elgar ducks under it. 11/1
4.2 M Amir to Elgar, FIVE WIDES! A little too short from Amir, it bounces way over the batsman's head. The keeper too has no chance and it goes down to the fine leg fence. 11/1
4.1 M Amir to Elgar, On a length and around off, it comes in with the angle. Elgar goes back and blocks it out. 6/1
3.6 M Abbas to Amla, Bouncer from Abbas. Amla easily ducks underneath it. 6/1
3.5 M Abbas to Amla, Fuller this time on middle, Amla flicks it through mid on for a couple of runs. He is off the mark with that. 6/1
Hashim Amla is the next batsman in for South Africa.
3.4 M Abbas to Bruyn, OUT! Abbas strikes. Early breakthrough for Pakistan. Abbas goes for a bumper this time. around middle and leg, de Bruyn goes for the pull. It hits his glove and an easy catch behind the stumps for Sarfraz. 4/1
3.3 M Abbas to Bruyn, The batsman has defended it by getting right behind the line of the delivery. 4/0
3.2 M Abbas to Bruyn, Length delivery on off, the batsman punches it towards covers. 4/0
3.1 M Abbas to Bruyn, Outside off, de Bruyn shoulders arms to it. 4/0
2.6 M Amir to Elgar, Fuller this time on off, Dean defends it with a straight bat. 4/0
2.5 M Amir to Elgar, In the channel outside off, Dean lets it go. 4/0
2.4 M Amir to Elgar, Short of a length on Elgar's body, Dean defends it off the back foot. 4/0
2.3 M Amir to Elgar, Bouncer from Amir this time on middle, Elgar nicely ducks underneath it. 4/0
2.2 M Amir to Elgar, Fraction to straight, Dean flicks it towards mid-wicket. 4/0
2.1 M Amir to Elgar, Length delivery on middle, Elgar defends it by presenting the full face of the bat. 4/0
1.6 M Abbas to Bruyn, Back of a length this time on off, de Bruyn punches it towards point. 4/0
1.5 M Abbas to Bruyn, Length delivery on middle, Theunis defends it off the back foot. 4/0
1.4 M Abbas to Bruyn, The batsman has played that off the front foot and into the ground. 4/0
1.3 M Abbas to Bruyn, Short delivery outside off, the batsman lets it go. 4/0
1.2 M Abbas to Bruyn, FOUR! First runs of the morning and it results in a boundary. Fraction too straight, de Bruyn flicks it through mid-wicket and the ball races away to the fence. 4/0
1.1 M Abbas to Bruyn, Starts off with a fuller delivery on off, de Bruyn drives it towards point. 0/0
Mohammad Abbas to bowl from the other end.
0.6 M Amir to Elgar, Outside off, left alone by Elgar. Maiden to start with for Amir. 0/0
0.5 M Amir to Elgar, Fuller this time on off, Dean pushes it towards point. 0/0
0.4 M Amir to Elgar, Good short delivery on his Elgar's body, Dean tries to defend it but it hits his glove and onto the ground. 0/0
It is not Markram who has opened for the hosts. It is de Bruyn who has partnered Elgar as the former is suffering from an injury.
0.3 M Amir to D Elgar, Fuller again on off, Elgar defends it off the front foot and onto the ground. 0/0
0.2 M Amir to Elgar, Fuller delivery this time on off, Elgar defends it with a straight bat. 0/0
0.1 M Amir to Elgar, Starts off with a short of a length outside off, Elgar lets it go. 0/0