SA v Pakistan
Dubai Test in the balance
Dubai - Pakistan won back-to-back sessions on the second day to put the first Test match against the Proteas at Dubai back on a fairly even keel.
Day three will now be the key moving day with Pakistan trailing by 236 runs on the first innings but still having eight wickets in hand.
The Proteas collapsed from their overnight 311/3 to 365/9 before lunch against a Pakistan attack that was inspired by the new ball spell of Umar Gul. He had to make do without his normal partner, Wahab Riaz, who was suffering from a side strain which meant that journeyman Younis Khan had to share the new ball spell.
But, as often happens with Pakistan, adversity brought the best out of them. Gul had bowled without luck on the first day but he stepped up a gear on the second day getting rid of night watchman Paul Harris as well as AB de Villiers and Ashwell Prince.
The delivery that dismissed De Villiers cut back sharply off the seam and was the outstanding delivery of the Test match to date.
Jacques Kallis, the one man to resist Gul, eventually fell for 73 off 156 balls (6 fours) and the Proteas were eventually out shortly after lunch for 380 with Gul and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman taking 3 wickets each.
The Proteas in total lost seven wickets for 72 runs and it was reminiscent of a similar collapse at Eden Gardens earlier this year when they lost nine wickets for 78 runs after Alviro Petersen and Hashim Amla had both scored centuries.
The second session was no better for the Proteas as the Pakistan openers, Taufeeq Umar and Mohammed Hafeez, raced to 88 in just 20 overs. The nine new ball overs from Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel cost 60 runs before Kallis and Harris pegged the rate back.
Pakistan had to work much harder for their runs in the final session with Taufeeq and Hafeez extending their stand to 105 before the latter fell to a loose shot off Harris (60 off 89 balls, 7 boundaries). Morkel made a second breakthrough to remove Taufeeq (42 off 129 balls, 3 boundaries) in a much better second spell that earned him 1/10 in 6 overs.
Pakistan finished the day on 144/2 for an overall deficit of 236 runs. It meant that the Proteas had had the better of the final session taking 2/56 in 35 overs.