On the opening day of the second test in Rawalpindi on Thursday, South Africa’s left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj took two wickets in consecutive overs to leave Pakistan trailing at 63-3 at lunch.
At the break, with Fawad Alam on 16 not out on a flat, brownish Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium ground, skipper Babar Azam was unbeaten on 24.
Pakistan, which won the toss and defeated, reached 21 without loss before throwing away three wickets for a single run in the 23-ball space.
Maharaj, brought into the attack in just the ninth over, had Imran Butt’s opener caught behind for 15 and then trapped Azhar Ali’s senior batsman leg-before in his next over for nought.
Paceman Anrich Nortje then supplied Abid Ali (six) with a sharp rising delivery whose fended drive was caught by Aiden Markram smartly at short-leg.
After managing just seven and 30 in the first test, Azam looked in better touch, having touched four boundaries so far.
Alam, who scored a hundred combat in Karachi, has so far been sedate and vigilant with two boundaries. After winning the first Test in Karachi by seven wickets, Pakistan led the two-match series 1-0.
Pakistan retained the XI game, which last week claimed the first test by seven wickets within four days in Karachi.
Azam, who captained Pakistan in his first Test match, said the wicket looked dry as his first Test series win against South Africa in 18 years was chased by the home side. In 2003, Pakistan last defeated the Proteas at home.
The wicket looks dry, and by putting runs on board, we’ll try to put them under pressure,”The wicket looks dry and we will try to put them under pressure by putting runs on board,” “We don’t want to relax after taking the lead and will push for 2-0.”
South Africa took all-rounder Wiaan Mulder into quick bowling, who played two home test matches against Sri Lanka. In the only adjustment Proteas made from the first test playing XI, Mulder substituted Lungi Ngidi.
After the series, Quinton de Kock, who will step down from Test captaincy, will hope that his team will have learned from the first Test errors.
In order to reinforce their batting lineup against the spin hazard of Nauman and Shah, the Proteas brought in two allrounders, George Linde and Mulder.
Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Abid Ali, Imran Butt, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Rizwan, Nauman Ali, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi.
South Africa: Quinton de Kock (captain), Aiden Markram, Dean Elgar, Faf du Plessis, Rassie van der Dussen, Temba Bavuma, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Wiaan Mulder. Umpires: Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza, Pakistan.
TV umpire: Asif Yaqoob, Pakistan
Match referee: Mohammad Javed Malik, Pakistan.