Sev­enth home se­ries win

Pak­istan show some fight though to take Test into a fourth day

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - ZAAHIER ADAMS [email protected] FOOT­BALL RE­PORTER Laf­for 3, Maboe 81


SOME­TIME to­day, pos­si­bly early in the morn­ing, South Africa will win the sec­ond Test. Vic­tory against Pak­istan will ex­tend their win­ning se­quence to seven con­sec­u­tive home se­ries con­quests and the record will show that they have also won 18 of their past 20 Tests on Mzansi soil.

The fact that South Africa need to come back and score the 41 runs re­quired was par­tially due to a com­i­cal last hour and the de­fi­ance of three top-or­der half-cen­turies from Shan Ma­sood, Asad Shafiq and Babar Azam.

Af­ter show­ing nei­ther the wit nor the will to play their way out of trou­ble in their pre­vi­ous three in­nings on this tour of South Africa, Pak­istan’s bats­men dug deep to keep a ram­pant home team at­tack at bay.

It cer­tainly was re­quired af­ter Dale Steyn and Kag­iso Rabada had once again re­duced the vis­i­tors to 16/2, which was light years away from mak­ing the home side bat again af­ter the Proteas had ear­lier taken a 254-run first in­nings lead.

But Ma­sood, one of the tourists’ rare pos­i­tives on this tour, and the ex­pe­ri­enced Shafiq bat­ted with grit, re­solve and no lit­tle flair to push on­wards to a 132-run stand for the third wicket. It was also Pak­istan’s first three-fig­ure part­ner­ship of the se­ries.

South Africa, though, knew that they only needed one break­through and they could climb into the Pak­istan mid­dle and lower or­der.

The fact that it was Steyn (4/85) who en­gi­neered it was ex­tra spe­cial for the vet­eran fast bowler still prides him­self on be­ing cap­tain Faf du Plessis’s “go-to-man”.

A lit­tle nib­ble from Ma­sood to Quin­ton de Kock be­hind the stumps and South Africa were ready to com­plete their con­quest in three days again. This looked even more likely when Fakhar Za­man hauled out a hor­rific pull shot against Rabada that re­duced Pak­istan to 201/5 – a deficit of still 53 runs with only five wick­ets re­main­ing.

How­ever, Pak­istan’s lower-or­der were con­tent to show coach Mickey Arthur that they could counter not only the hos­tile South African bowl­ing at­tack but also the pitch he be­rated just a day ear­lier.

At the fore­front of this re­sis­tance was Azam as he ral­lied to­wards a sec­ond half-cen­tury of the se­ries, and to­gether with some way­ward bowl­ing to­wards the back end of the elon­gated af­ter­noon ses­sion from, par­tic­u­larly, Duanne Olivier, the vis­i­tors man­aged to eke out a lead.

There were op­por­tu­ni­ties for South Africa to close out the in­nings ear­lier when Rabada (4/61) spilled a reg­u­la­tion catch, and even more im­por­tantly Ver­non Phi­lan­der, over­stepped the front crease with Pak­istan lead­ing by only 24 runs.

This would have left SA time to haul down the tar­get, but the play­ers al­ready off the field were called back to com­plete the in­nings, al­low­ing the vis­i­tors to add a fur­ther 16 runs that en­sured the sec­ond Test will in­deed en­joy a fourth day re­gard­less of how short it may even­tu­ally turn out to be. KAIZER CHIEFS (1) 1

Kat­sande 14

MAMELODI SUN­DOWNS (1) 2 PITSO Mosi­mane ran half the length of the pitch to cel­e­brate Le­bo­hang Maboe’s late goal as Mamelodi Sun­downs gate-crashed Kaizer Chiefs’ 49th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions and then uri­nated on their most ex­pen­sive car­pet.

With the score dead­locked at 1-1 and both teams look­ing happy to set­tle for a point, the Brazil­ians stole max­i­mum points at the death with a lucky goal by Maboe.

The Sun­downs mid­fielder scored in an empty net af­ter Vir­gil Vries made a meal of stop­ping Lyle Lakay’s lob.

As if on cue, the cam­era­man showed a dis­ap­pointed Itume­leng Khune in the stands, wear­ing an arm brace. Chiefs’ No1 missed this clash due to the in­jury which paved the way for the Namib­ian to start.

Vries had had an un­event­ful af­ter­noon be­fore that howler. Such is the life of the goal­keeper; most of the blame for this loss will go to Vries even though it should go to Chiefs’ at­tack.

The hosts dom­i­nated Sun­downs, with coach Ernst Mid­den­dorp win­ning the tac­ti­cal bat­tle, but they were made to pay for their missed chances and fail­ure to cap­i­talise on their dom­i­nance. This re­sult showed why Sun­downs are the reign­ing Absa Pre­mier­ship cham­pi­ons and why Chiefs are search­ing for their mojo.

Sun­downs can still scrape a re­sult even when it’s not their day, while Amakhosi can’t even get a vic­tory on their best day.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Amakhosi though. At face value, Mid­den­dorp gave Chiefs a bit­ter-tast­ing cake for the 49th birth­day they will cel­e­brate to­mor­row. But the Ger­man is cook­ing some­thing that could be ed­i­ble with a few im­prove­ments, es­pe­cially in the fi­nal third.

For the bet­ter part of this match his men had the up­per hand against a team that is now un­beaten in 26 league matches.

Chiefs re­sponded well to Laf­for’s opener by quickly pulling one back through Wil­lard Kat­sande. But their big­gest achieve­ment is how their line-up sti­fled Sun­downs.

Mosi­mane, a me­thod­i­cal plan­ner, was caught by sur­prise. Sun­downs couldn’t pen­e­trate through the cen­tre and their op­tions were quickly lim­ited on the flanks, forc­ing the Brazil­ians to play on the back foot.

Mosi­mane gin­gerly walked off the field at half-time, al­ready plan­ning what he’d do to counter Mid­den­dorp’s plan. He flashed the peace sign, a sym­bol syn­ony­mous with Amakhosi, and Chiefs fans didn’t know whether to be an­gry or de­lighted with the ges­ture.

The heav­ens opened just af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle and Chiefs will be hop­ing that the large down­pour will wash away their mis­for­tunes as they look to turn things around in 2019.

PAK­ISTAN bats­man Shan Ma­sood bouncer at New­lands. | ducks a

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