Pakistan v SA

Steyn, Harris keep SA in hunt

2010-11-22 16:12
Dale Steyn celebrates the wicket of Pakistani Azhar Ali. (Gallo)
Abu Dhabi - Dale Steyn took 2 wickets in his best spell of the tour to date and Paul Harris another 2 in the final session to keep the Proteas on track to clinch the series on the third day of the second Test at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday.

Pakistan put up a creditable performance of defiance and composure to reach 317/6 by the close but they still trail the Proteas’ Castle Test squad by 267 runs on the first innings.

It means that they need a further 68 runs to avoid the follow on. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq is still at the crease (77 off 150 balls with 9 fours and a six) and he faces a major battle to guide his tail beyond the follow on target.

It was an encouraging day for Pakistan after some of the collapses they have suffered this year with their two least experienced batsmen joining their captain in leading the fight.

Azhar Ali (90 off 175 balls, 12 fours) shared a second wicket partnership of 117 with Umar Taufeeq in 38 overs. It was his third half-century of the series and he must have been deeply disappointed to miss out on what would have been a maiden century at this level. He was one of Steyn’s two victims caught in the covers which says quite a lot about the condition of the pitch.

They were nevertheless well deserved wickets as he forced the batsmen back on their stumps and forced them to play off-balance shots.

Debutant Asad Shafiq scored a half-century on debut and shared a partnership of 107 for the fifth wicket with Misbah in 35.4 overs. He hit 10 fours, mainly with square cuts, on his way to 61 off 118 balls. This was undoubtedly the key partnership of the day as it enabled Pakistan to recover from a struggling 156/4 to 260/5.

Harris was brought on for the 8th over of the second new ball and achieved immediate success when Shafiq closed the face of his bat to a delivery that straightened just enough to find the outside edge and give Jacques Kallis a good, low catch at slip.

Harris’ second victim was Adnan Akmal who was caught off bat and pad by Amla (his fourth catch of the series) after a partnership of 46 in 13.2 overs.

It was a key dismissal 3 overs from the close as it exposed the tail who will have to contend with a fresh Proteas’ attack on the fourth morning.

Steyn finished with 3/78 and Harris with 2/71.


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