BIG blast at the Bullring!
Bugs, beer, boundaries and butterfingers as 13 wickets fall in Wanderers show-stopper
DAY 2 OF 5:
SOUTH AFRICA 262 AND 135/5 PAKISTAN 185
SATURDAY at a Bullring Test: The sun shone brightly, the beer flowed freely and the cricket was riveting from first ball to last.
In the Centenary Stand at the Wanderers, “Markram’s Minions” showed appreciation for the Proteas young opener and in the Unity Stand, the ever popular Gwijo Squad led supporters in song.
In the afternoon bugs caused havoc for umpires, bowlers, fielders and batsmen, 10 overs were lost in the day as a result. No one was complaining.
In the extra half an hour after the scheduled close Quinton De Kock was still clipping, driving and cutting boundaries. There was no shortage of entertainment, both on and off the field.
The match has moved quickly, as it usually does at the Bullring. But even by this venerable ground’s standards yesterday was rapid; 303 runs scored, 13 wickets fell, six catches dropped and thousands of litres of beer sold.
By the end, the Proteas led by 212 runs, a resolute Hashim Amla holding down the fort on 42; a more effervescent effort from De Kock will see him resume today on 34 having faced 35 balls.
The only thing that shouldn’t be rapid is the deterioration of this pitch. It is very far from what was seen here last year when the last Test against India was halted because the umpires were concerned for the safety of the batsmen.
However, the bounce on day two was very inconsistent for a day two pitch. Some kept low, others spat off a length.
Babar Azam copped a horrible blow on the left side of his chest first ball from Duanne Olivier, from one that jumped off the surface. That is Olivier’s way of course – a bruising thumper of pitches in this series, he’s scared the Pakistani batsmen and with one innings left in this series he already has 21 wickets – a record for a three-match series between the two countries.
He led the turnaround in the morning after the horrible fielding had let off nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas and Imam ul-Haq on two occasions each. That duo and Asad Shafiq were dismissed in the hour before lunch.
Also in that hour Babar launched another stunning assault against Dale Steyn. After lunch Sarfraz went on the assault against everyone. Pakistan were making rapid inroads.
But once Sarfraz was out, to a really pathetic shot given how he’d played before, the innings folded.
Olivier had his third five-for of the series and South Africa a lead of 77 runs.
There was no let-up when the Proteas started their second innings.
Dean Elgar was out in the fifth over, Pakistan used up all their reviews by the 14th over, Markram spanked some lovely shots, but edged an outswinger from Abbas to Sarfraz and by the end of the 15th over, the hosts were 45/4.
The Unity Stand were in full voice, garnering a smile from Kagiso Rabada seated in the front row of the SA dressing room.
Pakistan’s quicks were putting in some hearty efforts; Hasan Ali seeking to find relief from the bugs, bowled in his shades, Amla drove him for a pair of fours to illustrate his disdain for such apparent informality.
Sarfraz brought on Shadab Khan, he ripped a leg-break that nudged the outside edge of Bavuma’s bat giving the Pakistan captain a record breaking eighth catch in the match.
Amla stood firm, De Kock drove, clipped and cut. The songs kept being sung. Roll on today.
SOUTH Africa’s Hashim Amla at the Wanderers yesterday.|