ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s middle-order proved lethal against South Africa as the 4th wicket partnership between Skipper Babar Azam and Fawad Alam helped the Green-shirts to reach a total of 145 runs on the first day of the second Test at Pindi Stadium Rawalpindi on Thursday.
The partnership between Babar and centurion of the first Test Fawad was going rock solid until the rain interrupted the game in the tea break on the day. Pakistan was five runs short for 150 in 58 overs before the third session. Babar and Fawad provided a 123 runs partnership off 265 balls before the rain interrupted the game. The match was called off due to the wet out field and would begin on 9: 45 am (15 minutes earlier) on the second day on Friday. Babar (77) and Fawad (42) remained unbeaten on the first day. Babar scored 77 runs off 125 balls including 12 fours while Fawad hit 42 on 138 balls smashing 5 fours.
Pakistan was 63 for 3 in 29 overs before lunch. Babar’s 50 and Pakistan’s 100 came up when the Lahore-born prolific batsman smashed a four when Pakistan was on 99 runs in the 45th over.
Earlier Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat. Pakistan lost its first wicket of Imran Butt in 11.1 over to South African slow left-arm orthodox Keshav Maharaj. Butt tried to fend the ball softly, but it took a touch off the bat’s face and went straight through to the South African Skipper and wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock. Butt went for 15 but struck the first boundary for Pakistan in the first over (0.2 ball).
Maharaj struck again and trapped the danger man Azhar Ali (who scored 82 runs in the first Test) by lbw on a duck in 13.4 over.
Pakistan lost three wickets for one run (1-21, 2-21, 3-22), as the third one of Abid Ali (6) went down in the 14.5 over by an outstanding catch from Aiden Markram at short leg in South African pacer Anrich Nortje’s over. The ball arrived just above the waist height for Abid, who attempted to get inside the line but only managed to get an inside edge to it. The ball hit his midriff and popped out towards Markram, who followed the ball and snatched it before it hit the turf.
South African George Linde spinner left the field in the 23rd over, with a ball to bowl in his third over as he injured the little finger on his left hand which was stitched-up. Meanwhile, Asif Yaqoob was also presented with Umpire of the Year Trophy by Aleem Dar at Pindi Stadium.
Scores in brief: Pakistan 145/3 (Babar Azam 77*, Fawad Alam 42*; Keshav Maharaj 2-51, Anrich Nortje 1-30) vs South Africa.