Two part-time bowlers spoiled Graeme Smith’s big day as South Africa were bowled out for 253 on the first day of the first Test against Pakistan at the Wanderers Stadium here yesterday.
South Africa were dismissed after Smith, celebrating 100 Tests as captain and his 32nd birthday, won the toss and decided to bat in what were always likely to be challenging conditions on a pitch with pace and bounce. Pakistan survived two overs at the end of the day, finishing on six for no wicket.
The South African batsmen did well enough against Pakistan’s front line bowlers, but lost five wickets to part-timers Younis Khan and Mohammad Hafeez and another to a run-out.
Younis took only his eighth wicket in an 80-Test career to dismiss Hashim Amla with his third delivery of the match, while off-spinner Hafeez did even better, taking four for 16 after only being introduced in the 71st over.
Hafeez, who had taken 29 wickets in 29 Tests before Friday, had AB de Villiers caught behind off his first ball. Remarkably, Hafeez was given the second new ball and struck again four balls later when Robin Peterson padded up and was bowled by a straight delivery.
He then had Dean Elgar caught behind playing down the legside and wrapped up the innings by bowling Morne Morkel. The other four wickets fell in more conventional fashion, with opening bowlers Umar Gul and Junaid Khan taking two each.
South Africa’s last five wickets fell for 21 runs. “It was not the easiest pitch to score on,” said South African batsman Faf du Plessis. “There was movement for the seam bowlers and the ball was holding up a bit. For a day one pitch there was a lot happening out there. Looking at the cracks on the pitch there are good signs for us.”
Hafeez gave credit to the other bowlers who he said had kept the pressure on the South African batsmen throughout the day. “It was a team effort. We showed good discipline with the ball,” he said.
Of the decision for him to bowl with the second new ball, Hafeez pointed out that he had often bowled with the new ball in one-day matches and occasionally in Test matches. “There were some left-handers around so we decided to try a few balls and see what happened.”