All-round Ashraf gives Pakistan a slight edge

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safari
05 Feb 2021 | 04:33 AM
authorPramod Ananth

All-round Ashraf gives Pakistan a slight edge

South Africa trail by 166 runs with six wickets in hand after bowling Pakistan put for 272 on Day Two

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After bowling Pakistan out for 272, South Africa went into stumps on Day Two of the second Test on 106 for 4, still trailing the hosts by 166 runs. Quinton de Kock has played an unbelievably excellent counter-attacking innings, taking on both Nauman Ali and Yasir Shah to remain unbeaten on 24 off just 11. He has been supported by Temba Bavuma (15*), who is lucky to be still at the crease after surviving a close leg-before appeal, which was not reviewed. 

South Africa started off the day extremely well. They got the huge scalp of Babar Azam off the second ball of the day, caught at first slip off Anrich Nortje. South Africa’s day got even better when another overnight batsman Fawad Alam was run-out for 45, thanks to some superb piece of fielding from Bavuma. With two set batsmen back in the pavilion so early in the day, it was a terrific situation to be in for the visitors, who would have wanted to wrap things up as early as possible.

However, Faheem Ashraf showed his true potential with the bat, playing some delightful strokes along his way to his fourth Test fifty. There was some resistance on offer from the tail, who made the South Africa bowlers work hard for their wickets, but the onus on scoring the runs was on Ashraf, who was eventually left stranded for 78. Nortje bent his back and produced a spell he would remember, finishing with 5 for 56, his first fifer away from home and an effort he can be proud of. 

With the tailenders looking largely comfortable with length and back of a length deliveries, Nortje went the extra mile and bowled well-directed bouncers at them, which first saw the end of Nauman, caught at short-leg and two deliveries later Shaheen Afridi got the same treatment and the ball just popped up to Dean Elgar at silly point. 

While the South African openers started well, it did not take Hasan Ali long to break the partnership. First, Elgar edged one to the ‘keeper for 15 and then Hasan struck again this time, cleaning up Rassie Van der Dussen off the first ball – the last before tea. 

The batsmen were keen to dominate right from the onset and Faf du Plessis too took on that challenge. He started off with some quick boundaries and then he got bogged down by some excellent bowling. After his heroics with the bat, Ashraf forced du Plessis to play a false shot and he wound up edging one to Mohammad Rizwan. The former South Africa captain was visibly unhappy with the shot he had played. 

Nauman finally got his reward getting rid of Markram for 32 four wickets before bad light stopped play. Day Three will be a crucial one for both sides. Pakistan may believe they will have a chance even if they register a slender lead. As far as the Proteas are concerned, being 1-0 down, it'll have to be them who will have to force a result. Their first target will be to wipe out the deficit and if they find themselves in a good position by then, they will eye a lead of 100 runs or so.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 272 (Faheem Ashraf 78*, Babar Azam 77; Anrich Nortje 5 for 56) lead South Africa 106 for 4 (Aiden Markram 32, Quinton de Kock 24*; Hasan Ali 2 for 29) by 166 runs

Match Scorecard

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South Africa tour of Pakistan, 2021PakistanSouth AfricaBabar AzamFawad AlamQuinton de KockKeshav Maharaj

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