PESHAWAR: Pakistan initiated the second Test against South Africa in Cape Town with another dismal performance on Thursday as they could score 177 in the first inning.
South Africa won the toss as asked Pakistan to bat first on a good bowling pitch. Pakistan got to a worse start as they were reduced to 75-5 at lunch and lost five more wickets before tea. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed gave a bit of respectability to the total by scoring 56, while Shan Masood contributed 44.
Duanne Olivier, who was the hero of the Centurion Test with 11 wickets, was again at his best in Thursday by gaining four wickets. Veteran Dale Steyn took three wickets, Rabada took two wickets and Philander, who made a comeback in the match after injury, took one wicket.
Pakistan’s bowlers failed to put much pressure on the South African batsmen in the first inning and they were comfortably placed on 123 for the loss of two wickets.
Opener Aiden Markram was the pick of batsmen who scored 78. Markram, who struggled for form on tour in Sri Lanka in July and in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan, was bowled on the last ball of the day by Shan Masood. Mohammad Aamir got the wicket of Elgar on 20. Mohammad Abbas, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Yasir Shah failed to get wickets on the first day.
Pakistan’s lead is a mere 54 runs, with eight SA wickets still intact, and they will need a massive effort to turn the things around on second day of the Test. South Africa, who are comfortably placed, will be looking to gain a massive lead and then put Pakistan under pressure in the second inning.
Pakistan put their faith in the top six batsmen and retained them in the second match in a hope of better performance, but it didn’t happen. Haris Sohail has already been ruled out of reminder of the series due to injury.
It was Pakistan’s low score in both innings of the Centurion Test that caused their defeat. And from the outcome of the first day’s play in Cape Town, it seems extremely difficult for Pakistan to avoid the same fate in the second Test.