Pakistan stun South Africa with late burst as Yasir Shah dazzles in Karachi

By Sports Desk January 28, 2021

Pakistan took three priceless wickets in a devastating 25-minute burst before the close to leave South Africa in deep trouble in the first Test.

A gripping third day of the clash in Karachi looked set to be one that ended with South Africa in healthy shape in their second innings, but the impressive Yasir Shah had other thoughts and helped reduce the tourists to 187-4, for a slender lead of 29 runs.

The losses of Rassie van der Dussen (64), Faf du Plessis (10) and Aiden Markram (74) in that rush of wickets meant the advantage was firmly with Pakistan at the close.

In the first of two Tests, Pakistan had earlier frustrated their visitors with the bat when a wagging tail saw them move from 308-8 at the start of Thursday's play to 378 all out.

That gave Pakistan a first-innings lead of 158, not bad going for a team who had been 27-4 at one stage.

Kagiso Rabada removed Hasan Ali in the morning, smashing his middle stump out of the ground, and the South Africa paceman's figures of 3-70 took him to 200 Test wickets.

But Pakistan's lower order largely showed impressive defiance, and number 11 batsman Yasir, who has a Test century to his name, was stranded on 38 not out when Nauman Ali (24) was last man out.

Yasir would soon get his leg breaks turning and removed Dean Elgar for 29 to break up South Africa's opening partnership.

Markram, who has enjoyed hot spells with the bat on home soil, then looked to have chosen an opportune moment to make a first Test half-century outside South Africa, but the events of the final half-hour saw Pakistan wrest back control.

Abid Ali took a sharp catch at silly mid-off to give Yasir the important wicket of Van der Dussen, ending a 127-run second-wicket partnership.

Du Plessis had an early life when a review spared him an lbw dismissal, the ball from Yasir shown to have pitched millimetres outside leg stump.

But Yasir would not be denied for long and soon had his man pinned in front again, with no doubts second time around.

Markram was prised out by Nauman moments later, prodding to silly mid-off, as the complexion of the contest changed completely.


Yasir a game-changer

First came his quickfire runs from number 11, the sort of innings that causes opponents deep frustration, but then we saw Yasir at his best with the ball. Markram and Van der Dussen looked to be leading South Africa to a healthy position - and to be only one down and back in the black at the start of Friday's play would have been a huge boon. But Yasir (3-53) kept his focus sharp and his deliveries repeatedly hitting the mark in those closing overs, and the rewards deservedly came his way.

Breakthrough for Markram

The South Africa opener has four Test centuries but until this innings he had curiously never posted a fifty outside his home country in the five-day game. It was a purposeful, positive knock and looked set to see him grab the day's headlines, until Yasir put the Proteas in a spin. With wickets falling at the other end, Nauman seized the moment to prise out a presumably distracted Markram and land perhaps the most telling blow of all.

Hope for tourists?

If Pakistan were able to battle back from 27-4, then why shouldn't South Africa, who are 29 runs ahead in the match but also four down, also find runs in their middle and lower orders? Temba Bavuma and Keshav Maharaj have recent Test half-centuries, and the influence of captain Quinton de Kock, who resumes on nought on Friday, could be all-important.

Related items

  • Stokes to make return from broken finger for Durham Stokes to make return from broken finger for Durham

    England all-rounder Ben Stokes is to make his return from a broken finger for Durham on Sunday.

    Stokes will feature for the Jets in their T20 Blast fixture against Birmingham Bears.

    He had not played since suffering the injury playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League in April.

    Stokes missed England's Test series to defeat to New Zealand and will not play in their limited-overs series with Sri Lanka this month.

    His appearance for Durham will be his first for the Jets since 2018 and should boost hopes of Stokes playing in England's limited-overs series with Pakistan next month.

    He has a batting average of 53.85 in his 12 ODIs against Pakistan, though he has only taken one wicket in those games.

    After a three-match ODI series, England face Pakistan in three T20Is. Stokes was dismissed for just four in his sole appearance in T20Is against Pakistan in 2016.

  • England name Woakes and Willey in T20 squad England name Woakes and Willey in T20 squad

    Chris Woakes and David Willey have been named in England's squad for the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka at the end of June.

    A key component of the side that won the 50-over World Cup in 2019, Woakes has not featured in the shortest format at international level since November 2015.

    Willey, meanwhile, will hope to get the chance to impress ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to take place in October and November this year.

    Liam Dawson is also included in a 16-man party that is minus the services of injured trio Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Reece Topley.

    "With the T20 World Cup only a few months away, this summer is about perfecting our team and continue to progress on the field," England head coach Chris Silverwood said.

    "We want to approach every series with an influx of players aiming to win every match and giving us the best preparation as we get closer to the tournament.

    "With several high-profile players missing through injury, it allows me to look at some of our experienced players who have not featured at this level for some time.

    "The likes of Chris Woakes and David Willey are very experienced cricketers, and to have them both in the mix is exciting and shows the depth of squad we have available.

    "I want our team to play an attacking form of the game. I hope we can continue to excite the England fans with our approach."

    The three-match series begins in Cardiff on June 23, with the second game also taking place at the same venue the following day. The Ageas Bowl will then host the finale on June 26.


    England squad for T20 series against Sri Lanka:

    Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonathan Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

  • ECB to carry out social media review amid controversy over historical tweets ECB to carry out social media review amid controversy over historical tweets

    The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has pledged to conduct a review into how players use social media, as well as providing further education on their responsibilities.

    Ollie Robinson is currently suspended while under investigation following the discovery of historic messages of a racist and sexist nature that had been posted on his Twitter account.

    The 27-year-old made his Test debut in the series opener against New Zealand but issued an apology following play on day one at Lord's after posts – which were made in 2012 and 2013 - had been highlighted.

    Other England players have also seen previous tweets spotlighted since, with further disciplinary action a possibility against individuals.

    The ECB's investigation will also include administrators and coaches, with the governing body hopeful the game can "emerge from this difficult period stronger".

    "The board agreed to the executive's recommendation for a social media review to address any historical issues, remind individuals of their personal responsibilities going forward, and help them learn lessons along the way," an ECB statement read.

    "The board was clear that this process would not prevent further disciplinary action in the future, should that be required, under the applicable processes, but it is hoped that the game can emerge from this difficult period stronger and determined to be more inclusive and welcoming to all."

    Ian Watmore, the chair of the ECB, added: "As the national governing body, we must steer a path between helping individuals project an inclusive image, educating them on what is expected of them and allowing them the space to express themselves to the public.

    "We must also investigate their actions and sanction them when they fall short. The board was unanimous in support of the executive in the actions taken by them in the last week and agrees with their plans to move the game forward in a spirit of inclusion, education and personal responsibility, whilst addressing those cases which cause most offence head on."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.