Olivier steals limelight from record breaker Steyn

2018-12-26 19:50
Duanne Olivier
Duanne Olivier (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Duanne Olivier starred with the ball in an eventful opening day of the first Test between South Africa and Pakistan in Centurion on Wednesday.

SCORECARD: Proteas v Pakistan - Day 1

Dale Steyn duly took outright possession of the South African leading wicket-taker list; Kagiso Rabada moved joint top of the calendar year leading bowling statistics with Sri Lanka's Dilruwan Perera on 49 dismissals in 2018; and Olivier took a career best 6/37.

And that was by no means the summary of the action.

In the midst of this bowling success Babar Azam played a superb run-a-ball innings of 71 for Pakistan (79 balls, 15 fours) that included a crucial stand of 67 for the ninth wicket with Hasan Ali.

And then Pakistan's attack proved equally effective as they had the Proteas in huge trouble at 43/4 that included the loss of 3 wickets in 11 balls without a run being scored before they recovered to 127/5 at the close for a deficit of just 54 runs.

On balance the Proteas are probably slightly ahead as they still have Temba Bavuma (38 off 47 balls, 6 fours) at the crease with Quinton de Kock also left of their specialist batsmen.

In Pakistan's favour is the fact that the Proteas will have to bat last on a pitch that has reaped 15 wickets on day one. Both the bounce and the pace of the pitch are variable and this has made the batting task increasingly more difficult.

Olivier gave a classic fast bowling display, using a short-pitched attack to catch most of the Pakistan batsmen on the crease.

He has had a wonderful season to date with 27 wickets at an average of 18 in the 4-day Domestic Series followed by being the leading wicket-taker in the Mzansi Super League (MSL).

He also had a match after the end of the MSL back in the 4-day competition and this enabled him to groove his game for the best day of his Test career to date.

In the circumstances Babar's contribution was equally the match of that of Olivier. He played a truly commanding innings, studded with impressive cover drives, square cuts as well as vigorous pulls through the midwicket area.

His innings reached a climax when he took 9 boundaries in 3 overs from Steyn in mid-afternoon and it is not often that South Africa's champion is treated like that.

READ: Twitter quick to praise record-breaker Steyn

But the day will always be remembered for Steyn's record moment which has been delayed for two years by a succession of injuries.

Having Steyn and Rabada fit and firing together is a priceless advantage the Proteas can take forward into the future.

The Proteas trail by 54 runs as Bavuma (38*) and nightwatchman Steyn (13*) will resume in the middle on Day 2.

Play starts at 10:00.

Scores in brief after Day 1:

Pakistan 181 (Azam 71, A Ali 36, Olivier 6/37)

South Africa 127/5 (Bavuma 38*, Amir 2/26) 

South Africa trail by 54 runs

Read more on:    pakistan  |  proteas  |  duanne olivier  |  dale steyn  |  cricket


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