This is how it was done ...
Leading from the front
Faf du Plessis expects a lot from his players, but nothing more than he is willing to do himself. Prior to the Test match Du Plessis spoke about how his batting unit understands the conditions are tough in South Africa, but that they were willing to grind it out for the team. The skipper did just that on the second day when he wore a host of deliveries on his body, but battled through for an epic century.
Never a dull moment …
“Nothing like that has ever happened,” a bemused Kagiso Rabada said at the end of the third day’s play. “We were in a rush. Dale (Steyn) was bowling off a quarter run-up, and then the dramatic no-ball. And then after all of that to happen, we decide not to go out and bat.” Even the players could not make sense of a manic last hour on Saturday when chaos erupted as the Proteas tried everything to finish the Test in three days. It all came to nought though as the players still had to return yesterday morning to complete proceedings.
Finally Pakistan turns up
After a couple of listless batting displays from the visitors, even the locals were urging on the Pakistani batsmen to show off some of the flair they are renowned for. Enter Shan Masood and Asad Shafiq. With Masood knuckling down in the anchor role, it freed up Shafiq to play with freedom and exuberance.
The pair added 132 runs in an entertaining second session, which the Newlands crowd appreciated greatly, and Shafiq was desperately unlucky not to add a second consecutive century in Cape Town to his career highlights.
Mickey gets hot under the collar
Mickey Arthur was always a very likeable chap. Perhaps only the Aussies don’t think so after the former South African coach dropped four players for a Test match for not doing their homework, but the way he wears his heart on his sleeve has always been an admirable trait.
On Friday evening, after the second day’s play, Arthur certainly had a bee in his bonnet and came out scathing about the state of South Africa’s pitches and how it has deteriorated since he was last coaching in the country. It might have been a valid claim had South Africa not scored 259 runs in the day for the loss of just four wickets
Big Vern’s 50
The New Year Test of 2019 may have been a relatively quiet one for Vernon Philander with the “Ravensmead Wrecker” picking up just two wickets at his favoured ground.
It was enough though for Philander to record 50 scalps when he trapped Imam-ul-Haq LBW in the first innings. Like Du Plessis put it so nicely in the after-match press conference “Vern has been taking wickets here since he was in nappies.”