South Africa on top

Sparked by paceman Morne Morkel’s five-wicket haul, South Africa took a 271-run lead in the second innings and regained control of the first Test against Pakistan at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

By Adur Pradeep

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Published: Mon 15 Nov 2010, 12:41 PM

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

South Africa finished with 139 for two in their second innings at stumps on day three with Hashim Amla batting on 44 and Jacques Kallis not out on 32 as they added 63 runs for the third wicket.

Spinners took both the South African wickets, with Abdur Rehman sending back opener Alviro Petersen for 26 and Saeed Ajmal trapping Graeme Smith (34), who hit a century in the first innings, in front of the wicket.

Earlier, Morkel and Johan Botha turned out to be the stars for South Africa as Pakistan collapsed to 248 in their first innings. Pakistan, resuming the third day at 2-144, caved in meekly as Morkel, who bagged the wicket of opener Taufeeq Umar on Saturday, sparked a late order collapse with four wickets.

The 26-year-old Morkel, who bagged his third five-wicket haul in his 27th Test, finished with figures of 5-54 from 21 overs. From 214-4 at lunch, Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 34 runs.

Spinner Botha made the difference in the morning session as he picked up three crucial wickets -- two in successive overs. He dismissed Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq and Umar Akmal, handing back the advantage to Proteas.

Azhar Ali fought well for Pakistan, playing a patient knock of 56, but an outstanding catch from Amla at short leg in Morkel’s over ended the 25-year old’s resistance.

Pakistan, who bounced back in to the Test on the second day following an impressive performance from pacer Umar Gul and a 105-run first wicket partnership, lost their last eight wickets for 72 runs. South Africa too collapsed in identical fashion on Saturday, having lost their last eight wickets for 73 in first innings. Rehman finished with figures of 1-37, while Ajmal took 1-31. Gul, who sparked the South African collapse in the first innings, was subdued in the second outing with 0-34 from eight overs. He would be eyeing Monday’s morning session to make an impact, as he did on Saturday.

With the pitch started assisting the spinners, any score of more than 300 could be a difficult one to chase. With a few cracks appearing on the wicket, new ball could also play tricks on the last two days.

Earlier, Botha gave the first breakthrough in the morning when AB de Villers took a sharp catch at midwicket, sending back Younis Khan for 35. The former captain, playing his first Test since July 2009 because of a disciplinary ban, hit three fours in his 85-ball knock. The new captain Misbah-ul-Haq (9), was the next to go, as Hashim Amla took a brilliant catch at short leg.

Umar Akmal (4) played an irresponsible shot as Dale Steyn took a dolly at point, with Botha being the beneficiary. Steyn bagged his first wicket in the Test when debutant wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal (10) edged one to Mark Boucher behind the stumps. Morkel then joined the act, taking the wickets of Abdur Rehman, Azhar Ali, Wahab Riaz and Saeed Ajmal.

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