Gul inspires Pakistan fightback

An inspired bowling spell from pacer Umar Gul and a 105-run first wicket partnership helped Pakistan make a strong comeback in the first Test against South Africa at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

By Adur Pradeep

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Published: Sun 14 Nov 2010, 12:31 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:47 AM

In an amazing turnaround on second day, Pakistan, after dismissing South Africa for 380 in first innings, made a strong reply, reaching 2-144 at stumps. Younis Khan remained unbeaten on 21 with Azhar Ali not out on 12. Pakistan, now trailing by 236 runs, will pin their hopes on Younis for a big innings in the match, which is evenly poised after two days.

South Africa, who began the day on a comfortable score of 3-311, had aspirations to post a score of more than 500, but Gul derailed their plans by taking three quick wickets for 19 runs in an explosive eight-over spell.

Pakistan started their first innings impressively with openers Taufeeq Umar and Mohammad Hafeez adding 105 for the first wicket. Both batsmen, playing in the Test squad after a long gap, started aggressively and raised the 50-stand in the ninth over.

Hafeez, also making a return to the Test squad after playing his last game in 2007, scored his fourth fifty, before falling to spinner Paul Harris after tea. Captain Graeme Smith took a simple catch at mid on to sent back Hafeez, who made a fine 60 off 88 balls, including seven hits to the fence.

Taufeeq, playing a Test since 2006, too fell soon after making a patient 42 from 129 balls, as Morne Morkel won an lbw decision in his favour.

Earlier, Gul was well supported by spinners Abdur Rehman and Saeed Ajmal to restrict South African to a below par score. In a complete contrast to their opening day performance, the Proteas crumbled as they lost their last seven wickets for 73 runs, with them adding only 69 runs on day two.

Rehman finished with figures of 3-101 from 32 overs, while Ajmal took 2-95 from 35. When the day started, Gul had to operate with Younis Khan because paceman Wahab Riaz picked up a side strain and missed out on second day. Younis did a fine job, giving away only 11 runs from his seven accurate overs.

Riaz has been ruled out of the Test series due to a muscle strain. “Riaz has suffered a side strain on the right side and needs four to five weeks for recovery before rehabilitation, so he will return to Pakistan after the first Test,” team manager Intikhab Alam said.

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