Home Sport Cricket LUNCH: Easy-paced track helps Proteas make steady start

LUNCH: Easy-paced track helps Proteas make steady start

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South Africa reached 94/2 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi

Proteas opener Dean Elgar took advantage of some wayward bowling from Pakistan’s Hasan Ali. Picture: Deryck Foster, BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa reached 94/2 at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Pakistan at the National Stadium in Karachi on Tuesday.

Having won the toss, the tourists will be reasonably pleased with their efforts in the first session on what is an easy paced pitch, with little seam movement and no signs of spin. Dean Elgar on 46 and Faf du Plessis on 14 will resume the second session

Proteas captain, Quinton de Kock, playing in his 50th Test, confirmed at the toss that South Africa were going to play three spinners, but that left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi suffered a back spasm in the warm-ups before play. The left arm wrist spinner’s name was on the team sheet, but scratched out and replaced by Lungi Ngidi.

South Africa’s openers Elgar and Aiden Markram started quickly, taking advantage of some wayward bowling from Hasan Ali, who is playing his first Test in two years. Hasan bowled both sides of the wicket, and struggled to find his length, allowing both batsmen the chance to hit easy boundaries.

Fortunately for Babar Azam, captaining Pakistan for the first time in a Test match, Shaheen Afridi did bowl with the requisite discipline and he got reward, getting one delivery to move across Markram, squaring him up, with the edge flying low towards first slip.

It would certainly have bounced in front of Yasir Shah, fielding there, but fortunately, debutant Imran Butt, moved quickly to his left and pouched an excellent low catch.

Markram made 13 that included three fours, but despite getting such a good ball, will feel he missed out on an opportunity for a big score on an easy pitch.

Rassie van der Dussen will feel worse, however.

He was not troubled at all in reaching 17, playing a couple of elegant drives, but then hit a ball Faheem Ashraf straight to Babar at mid-off and set off for a run that was never on.

Elgar correctly sent him back, Van der Dussen dropped his bat, turned around, and dived but was well short of his ground, with Pakistan’s wicket-keeper, Mohammad Rizwan collecting throw and putting in a dive of his own to demolish the stumps, with a bat-less Van der Dussen a metre short of his ground.

South Africa made two changes from the team that won the series against Sri Lanka three weeks, with George Linde coming in for Wiaan Mulder, while Kagiso Rabada returned to the starting line-up in place of Lutho Sipamla.

Pakistan meanwhile handed debuts to opener Imran Butt and left arm spinner Nauman Ali. The latter is 34 years old and has taken 289 wickets in 128 first class matches. Butt, 25, has played 72 first class games, in which he’s scored 4478 runs at an average of 36.11, with a highest score of 214.

It is the first time Babar Azam has captained Pakistan in a Test match.

@shockerhess