Pakistan v SA

Pakistan: From 0s to heroes

2013-10-18 12:30
Saeed Ajmal (AFP)

Abu Dhabi - One day they lose to the bottom team in the rankings, the next they beat the top side in the world.

This is the Pakistan cricket team, often regarded as their own worst enemy.

Widely castigated for a lack of unity and consistency after suffering an embarrassing defeat against minnows Zimbabwe in Harara a month ago, they were given little chance against Test number one team South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

All the more so because South Africa had drawn a two-match series in the United Arab Emirates three years ago, blunting Pakistani's spinners led by Saeed Ajmal.

Former greats and fans were calling for the sackings of Pakistan's Australian coach Dav Whatmore and captain Misbah-ul Haq.

But Misbah's men turned the tables on South Africa in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

They dominated the first Test, winning it by seven wickets, to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series and proving they are the most colourful and unpredictable team in the world.

Pakistan bowled out South Africa for 249 in the first innings, with debutant Zulfiqar Babar and lanky paceman Mohammad Irfan taking three wickets apiece.

Pakistan's new opening pair then blunted South Africa's four-pronged pace attack, putting together a 135-run stand.

Khurram Manzoor went on to make 146 and debutant Shan Masood scored 75. Misbah chipped in with a ton to continue anchoring the team's fragile batting.

Ajmal then came into his own, taking 4-74 to rock South Africa for 232 before Pakistan survived early wobbles to score the needed 40 runs for a memorable and much needed win.

Misbah hailed the win as "something special."

"This was something special - winning a Test against South Africa, especially after what had happened in Zimbabwe," said Misbah.

Misbah reckoned conditions in United Arab Emirates - Pakistan's fortress since being forced to play there following attacks on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009 - had a big impact.

"I know what people were saying, but we had the belief to beat South Africa in these conditions which suit us and have become our home," said Misbah after the win, Pakistan's first over South Africa since 2003.

This is only Pakistan's fourth win over a formidable Proteas and gives them a good chance to add to their only series win over South Africa ten years ago.

The second and final Test starts in Dubai from October 23.

Misbah admitted Pakistan struggled in South Africa - where they were routed 3-0 earlier this year - and then in Zimbabwe where they squared a two-match series 1-1.

"When we went to South Africa we were blanked 3-0 and now South Africa is the number one team. We lost in Zimbabwe because they benefitted from the conditions.

"I think that the conditions have a big role in the results of Tests," said Misbah..

"Ajmal has a good record here," said Misbah of Ajmal who took 24 wickets in demolishing England last year. Ajmal finished with six wickets in the first Test against South Africa, and four in the second.

Misbah said he was confident his side could keep up the progress thay have made.

"South Africa have a world class team, we must remember that we are really playing the top side in the world, so simply focus on the next game and do the best preparations if we want to win the series," the Pakistan captain warned.

Read more on:    pakistan  |  pakistan v sa  |  saeed ajmal  |  cricket

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

03 November 2016
Australia v South Africa, Perth 04:30
12 November 2016
Australia v South Africa, Hobart 01:30
24 November 2016
Australia v South Africa, Adelaide Oval 05:30
Previous Results

Date Match Result

Having shared their two-Test series, who will win the five-match ODI series between Pakistan and South Africa?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.