Manzoor, Masood shine as Pakistan take control

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Manzoor, Masood shine as Pakistan take control

Openers Manzoor and Masood lay the platform for Pakistan in first Test

By James Jose

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Published: Wed 16 Oct 2013, 11:31 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:07 PM

ABU DHABI — The last couple of days have been a dream for Shan Masood. Told on Monday morning, that he would be making his Test debut against the No.1 side in the world, it was the perfect birthday gift for the lad who turned 24.

With South Africa opting to make first use of the surface, Masood had the opportunity to enjoy his dream and birthday for a day, process it, before facing reality. In hindsight, it probably fell in place perfectly, as it helped Masood prepare for it.

“I got to know on the morning of the match. The Test cap and my birthday, two days went so fast. I was thrilled because it was my dream to play Test cricket,” Masood said.

Picked over Ahmed Shehzad, Masood didn’t bat like a debutant. Of course, there were the occasional swishes and misses, but for the most of the part, he batted like he already belonged here.

More importantly, it solved Pakistan’s opening blues. If captain Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan are the main act, Khurram Manzoor and Shan Masood are the perfect opening band as the men from Karachi were singing from the same song sheet.

They were the sixth combination to be tried out in seven Tests. And on the evidence of what unfolded at the Shaikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday, Pakistan can close the file, atleast for sometime, on who their opening operatives would be.

Manzoor notched his maiden Test hundred in his 10th Test, while Masood scored a brilliant half-century on debut as Pakistan held the advantage on the second day of the first Test against the No.1 Test side in the world—South Africa.

The duo complemented each other as they put on 135 runs, Pakistan’s first century partnership for the opening wicket since January 2012 against England.

Pakistan took a 14-run lead as they finished the day with 263 for 3 after South Africa folded up for 249. Manzoor was batting on 131 with Misbah on 44. The pair had added an unbroken 85 runs for the fourth wicket.

Masood looked as stylish as most left-handers do. Manzoor lacked in the style with his shots but the duo worked out well together.

And it was the first time since 2009, that there were two openers from Karachi. Incidentally, Manzoor was one of them and he had partnered Fawad Alam during their tour of Sri Lanka.

Earlier in the morning, Pakistan took just 15 minutes and 19 balls to wrap up South Africa’s innings.

Hashim Amla failed to add to his overnight score of 118 as he fell to the second ball of the morning. Amla fished at an Mohammed Irfan delivery which was moving across. His footwork was nowhere and he only managed an edge which was gobbled with ease by Younis Khan at second slip. With that catch, Younis went level with Javed Miandad on 93 for the most number of catches for Pakistan.

Three overs later, Dale Steyn danced down to Saeed Ajmal but missed and Adnan Akmal whipped the bails off in a flash to put an end to South Africa’s first dig at 249. After that, it was the Khurram Manzoor and Shan Masood showa and the pair went about at three runs an over. Masood, in particular, seemed to be in a bit of a hurry like he was maybe going to miss the bus. Masood got off the mark in Test cricket with a boundary. The stylish southpaw went for a forward push off Dale Steyn and the ball raced past the three slips and a gully to the third man fence. The next ball, he took three runs.

Masood then showed some nice soft hands as he put it down and steal a quick single. Masood earned a repreieve though, when on nine. Steyn bowled a brilliant bowl which forced Masood to play at it. It took the outside edge but Jacques Kallis could not hold on to it at second slip. Meanwhile, Khurram Manzoor cheeky edge between slips and gully, off Steyn fetched him his first boundary.

Masood continued, pulling Vernon Philander for his secwond four as Steyn failed to stop it at the boundary line. The South African quicks Steyn and Philander didn’t change their plan or add variety and stuck to their line and lengths even though the Pakistani openers were going great guns.

Steyn bowled a good line and length, but Philander was not quite getting it right.

Morne Morkel replaced Steyn and Masood outside edged his second ball which beat gully for a four. The 48 runs Manzoor and Masood put on was Pakistan’s best opening stand in 2013.

Pakistan reached 50 in the 13th over and it was their first 50 opening stand in 13 innings.

Masood got his fourth boundary when he guided it down past gully off Morkel. Masood did slow down a bit and his partner raced ahead of him.

Pakistan took lunch at 77 for no loss in 22 overs with Manzoor on 41 from 64 balls and Masood on 36 from 68 balls.

Despite a couple of swishes and misses, Masood came back into his own and continued. He beautifully flicked Steyn off his pads for his fifth boundary. He brought up his maiden half-century with a single off left-arm spinner Robin Peterson. His 50 came from 102 balls with five boundaries.

Pakistan also reached 100 in 33 overs. It was Pakistan’s first hundred opening stand in 22 innings.

Manzoor too brought up his half-century, his sixth and first against South Africa with a single off Peterson.

Masood looked good and deserved to get a maiden century as well but he fell leg before to JP Duminy, who broke the threatening partnership.

Masood walked away before pausing and asked for a review. But he was late as he had walked off the pitch and the umpire sent him on his way.

Manzoor made a mockery of South Africa’s spin option Peterson by sweeping him for back-to-back boundaries to reach 99. He then drove Peterson through the covers for two, to notch his maide hundred. It came off 198 balls with 11 boundaries.

An elated Manzoor pumped his fists before acknowledging the crowd with his bat. He then kissed the ground and got back on his feet and kissed the star on his helmet.

One-down Azhar Ali had fallen to Philander for 11, while Younis Khan was knocked over with a ripper of a delivery from Morkel. It was a zipper from Morkel and aimed at Younis Khan’s body. It caught Younis by surprise and he could only manage to fend it off with his gloves. The ball lobbed up and Petersen ran in from gully to lap it up.

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq then joined Manzoor and the pair took Pakistan past South Africa’s total.

South Africa thought that they had got Misbah after he went after a wide delivery from Philander and edged, when on 38. Smith thought he had caught the ball, which was dying on him, at first slip. But the umpires conferred with the television umpire and replays showed it had bounced before Smith had caught it.james@khaleejtimes.com


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