Pakistan v SA

Proteas remain second best

2010-11-24 18:08
Graeme Smith (Gallo Images)
Dubai - Spinners Paul Harris and Johan Botha raised hopes of a Proteas’ series victory when they took 3 wickets between them without conceding a run in 8 balls immediately after lunch on the final day of the second Test against Pakistan at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Wednesday.

That made Pakistan 66/3 in search of a victory target of 354 with 60 overs still to be bowled.

But it proved to be the last success of the day for the Proteas as Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali were not unduly troubled in batting until the start of the final hour when the match was called off with Pakistan on 153/3 in 67 overs.

The series will be remembered from a Proteas’ point of view for AB de Villiers’ record score as well as the centuries scored by Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis.

Pakistan also did much better with the bat than with the ball and they can look back on the emergence of several relative Test newcomers such as AzharAli, Asad Shafiq and Abdur Rehman. Misbah also led from the front as captain.

Neither side managed to take more than 14 wickets in either of the Test matches and getting wickets turned out to be a hard slog.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) Gerald Majola congratulated the Proteas on a successful tour that included winning both limited overs series and getting a half-share of the Test trophy.

“The Proteas are to be congratulated for returning home from the United Arab Emirates having beaten Pakistan in both limited overs series and also having been unbeaten in the Test series,” commented Majola.

“Full plaudits go to them for winning the Pro20 and ODI series, and credit goes to Pakistan for putting up such sterling opposition after these losses to draw the two-match Test series nil-all.

“The Proteas’ Test performances were marked by some world-class and record-breaking performances by the likes of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis.

“This combination of youth and experience says much for the present and future state of South African cricket.

“We now look forward to the enormously exciting tour of South Africa by India which includes three Castle Tests, five MTN ODIs and the historic Standard Bank International Pro 20 match at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on 9 January.”

The Proteas dropped some ratings points for the drawn series but remain No. 2 on the official ICC rankings but are now 13 points behind leaders India going into the big Test series of the summer next month on home soil.

Third-placed Sri Lanka cannot overtake them even if they win the remaining two Tests of their current home series against the West Indies.

Reliance Mobile ICC Test Championship (as of 24 November 2010, after the end of Pakistan-South Africa Test series)

Ranking         Team              Rating
1                      India                129
2                      South Africa   116
3                      Sri Lanka         115
4                      England           112
5                      Australia          110
6                      Pakistan           88
7                      New Zealand  80
8                      West Indies     79
9                      Bangladesh     7


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