The 2nd test in Newlands, Cape town was presumably out of Pakistan’s reach at the end of day 2 when South Africa managed to get a lead of 254 runs. But, as always the young blokes of Pakistan showed a lot of character and fought blatantly with the bat in hand accumulating a lead of 40 runs all out at the end of day 3.
End of the day was so dramatic that plethora of laughter by the commentators and the boos and aas of the crowd still reverberate in everyone’s ears. Pakistan shuffled their batting order by sending the inform batsman Shan Masood in the opening instead of Fakhar Zaman. Pakistan once again failed to establish an opening stand with Imam ul Haq nicking towards first slip in a similar fashion to the first innings. Azhar Ali who had a nightmare of a series failed once again and got out on 6. It was looking as if the episodes in the last three innings of Pakistan’s middle order collapsing was inevitable to repeat when Asad Shafiq walked in.
But, this is Pakistan, remember, you can’t predict anything, Asad Shafiq who played his 63rd test on a trot had to cement his fragile position so he along with Shan Masood did what was not expected, a partnership of 132 which went on to change Pakistan’s position in the match. The partnership was built by some eye catching and glorious drives by Asad Shafiq and some gritty batting by Shan Masood whose consistency in this series left many awed!
This partnership was broken by Steyn who got Shan Masood to follow a widish ball and edge one to De Kock. Before this partnership was broken, Pakistan was looking to get a reasonable lead and challenge South Africa. But the surface didn’t allowed new batsmen to settle and hence forth the predicted collapse occurred. Asad Shafiq carelessly following the ball towards off stump resulted in stemming the flow of runs for Pakistan while Babar Azam on the other hand was developing a knock.
After Shafiq, Fakhar Zaman whose batting position was changed promised to be a thriller but that wasn’t to be as he top edged a short delivery pretty roughly and took the chances of Pakistan in this game with himself. Sarfaraz got unlucky as he reviewed his LBW decision which could be easily not out if the umpire’s call was with him. Moreover, Babar deterred with his fantastic technique and played some blistering strokes showing the world that he is all class.
His partnership with the tail helped Pakistan get a lead of 28 runs when KG Rabada got rid of Babar Azam. After that, the tail enders finally contributed a little and took the lead to 32 runs when Philander got Abbas out. But, wait a minute, the umpires making sure it was a fair delivery got to know that it was a no ball!
The South African team nearly entered their dugout and had to restart their bowling and Shaheen Afridi decided to take the lead to 40 by hitting a massive six! Finally, Shaheen trying to whack another ball rose one up the air and Pakistan’s innings was wrapped!!
Nonetheless, it was a great day of cricket because Pakistan who was cornered by the wall managed to comeback strongly and saves themselves from the embarrassment of an innings defeat in South Africa!
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