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DAY 2 LUNCH: Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam limit damage

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Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam survived an intense examination from South Africa’s bowlers, to help Pakistan maintain parity at lunch on the second day of the first Test

Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam survived an intense examination from South Africa’s bowlers, to help Pakistan maintain parity at lunch on the second day of the first Test in Karachi on Wednesday. Picture: Muzi Ntombela, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Azhar Ali and Fawad Alam survived an intense examination from South Africa’s bowlers, to help Pakistan maintain parity at lunch on the second day of the first Test in Karachi on Wednesday.

The duo, who resumed with Pakistan’s total on 33/4, ensured there was no more damage in the wickets column taking the tourists to the break on 104/4, with Azhar on 38 and Fawad on 39.

South Africa’s bowlers threw everything at them; Kagiso Rabada, chasing his 200th Test wicket, got the ball reversing, while spinners Keshav Maharaj and George Linde got the ball to spin and in the latter’s case to bounce.

The Proteas managed to create just one chance, a very difficult one, when Fawad edged a delivery from Maharaj, which flew low and quickly to Dean Elgar at slip. Elgar had shifted his hands upwards, and long before he could them towards the ball, it struck him on the left foot and squirted away to fine leg.

Otherwise it was a case of the ball flying close to fielders – Temba Bavuma in particular was teased by balls clipped inches from him in his position at square leg.

Rabada got the ball to reverse early, forcing a few of those opportunities, but the Pakistani pair, whose partnership is currently worth 77, were resolute and smart as well, taking quick singles to try and get the scoreboard ticking.

South Africa wasted a couple of reviews; Quinton de Kock sent an LBW call to the TV umpire off the 10th ball of the day when Anrich Nortje struck Azhar on the pad just before the ball had hit the bat but technology showed it had struck the batsman outside the line of off-stump, while another review against Azhar off Linde’s second ball was an awful, sheepish request that was never likely to go in the fielding team’s favour.

The Proteas will hope that the pitch starts to become more uneven and that like the first day, wickets start tumbling in the afternoon. They currently lead by 116 runs.