Misbah leads fightback

They are still not out of the woods yet but Pakistan conjured up a fine fightback against South Africa in the second Test at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

By James Jose

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Published: Mon 22 Nov 2010, 11:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:49 AM

Staring at a mammoth 584 and resuming the third day on 59 for one, Pakistan, led by a resilient Azhar Ali, a stoic debutant Asad Shafiq and captain Misbahul Haq, lived to fight another day.

Ali fell 10 runs short of his maiden Test hundred but Pakistan’s impressive reply was built around him. Debutant Shafiq was equally impressive with a 61.

At stumps on day three on Monday, Pakistan were 317 for six with Misbah on 77 and Abdur Rehman yet to open his account. They trail by 267 runs and still need 68 to avoid the follow-on.

Pakistan resumed on 59 for one with overnight batsmen Azhar Ali on 34 and opener Taufeeq Umar on 16.

Morne Morkel began proceedings and ended with a maiden with Umar fishing out at the last delivery to be beaten.

Ali then kept picking boundaries off Morkel and Dale Steyn. He drove Morkel past Smith to the mid-off fence before cutting Steyn past gully.

Ali, who made his Test debut against Australia at Lord’s, then pulled a short ball from Morkel over midwicket for a boundary to bring up his fifth half-century.

It was his third half-century on the trot and the last time a No.3 batsman scored three consecutive half-centuries for Pakistan was Younis Khan against India in 2006.

He had made 56 and 63 in the first Test in Dubai.

Ali and Umar went about building the innings and Ali brought up the 100 partnership with a boundary of off-spinner Johan Botha. Botha sent down a half volley and Ali leaned forward and drove it through covers for a boundary.

South African captain Smith brought on Paul Harris and the left-arm spinner almost had Ali in his first over. The ball was angled onto leg stump and it took Ali’s inside edge. But AB de Villiers dropped him at backward short leg.

Kallis brought an end to the partnership by dismissing a defiant Umar. Kallis fired in a bouncer and Umar went for the pull but was late on the shot. The top edge was taken by Hashim Amla at square leg. Umar made 43 from 105 balls with five boundaries. It put an end to the 117-run second wicket stand between Ali and Umar.

Pakistan went into lunch at 129 for two with Ali on 75 and Younis on two.

Younis got his first boundary rather unconvincingly with an edge. Steyn tempted Younis to drive to a ball that was moving away and it took the edge and flew past the vacant third slip. Kallis made a desperate dive but could not get to it.

Ali picked Steyn for a couple of beautiful boundaries. He stood up and slammed Steyn between extra cover and mid-off before pulling him over a leaping wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.

Younis’ second boundary was also an edge off Steyn and his luck ran out as he was out the very next ball. His drive was swallowed by Amla at covers, who dived to his left to take a good catch. Younis lasted 40 balls and made 14.

Ali, who was looking good for his maiden Test hundred, fell 10 runs short when he was dismissed by Steyn. Ali spooned it to mid-off where Smith lapped it up.

Captain Misbah, who was quiet till then, cut loose a bit, clubbing three boundaries in Botha’s over. He guided one down the leg side before cutting the next ball through point. He finished up with another one over square leg.

Debutant Asad Shafiq then attacked Botha with three boundaries in an over before Misbah walloped Harris for a six over long on as Pakistan took tea at 220 for four. Misbah was on 22 with Shafiq on 38.

Shafiq brought up his maiden half-century with a boundary off Harris. It was a short and wide delivery and Shafiq sent it through covers.

Shafiq then picked a boundary off Morkel between gully and backward point to bring up the second 100 partnership for Pakistan.

But he could not carry on as Harris saw the back of him. Shafiq edged and Kallis took it at slip as Shafiq ended with 61 from 118 balls with 10 boundaries. Shafiq and Misbah had put on 107 runs for the fifth wicket.

Misbah clubbed two boundaries off Steyn and the second one, through cover, brought up his half-century. Misbah became only the third Pakistan captain to score half-centuries in his first two games as captain, after Ramiz Raja and Asif Iqbal.


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