Hafeez dismantles South Africa
Four wickets in the last session by Mohammad Hafeez helped Pakistan dismiss South Africa for 253 in their first innings on day one of the first test in Johannesburg on Friday.
“Credit must go to all the bowlers as we did well to restrict South Africa to under three runs an over,” said Pakistan's humble vice-captain Mohammad Hafeez.
“We were getting wickets at the right time and putting them under constant pressure. I got the success but I think it's thanks to everyone as they all bowled well the whole day.”
It was a masterstroke of Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Huq to bring on the offbreak bowler in the 71st over, and he removed AB de Villiers with his first ball.
Mohammad Hafeez then took the new ball and removed Robin Peterson (0), Dean Elgar (27) and finally Morne Morkel (0) to return his best Test figures of 4/16.
“I used to take the new ball in the one-dayers and have done it in Test matches before," Mohammad Hafeez said.
“It wasn't in our original plans for today but I often have success against the left-handers so we thought we would try it and it worked.”
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He said the team were taking things simply and had to remain disciplined.
They had been through tough times but had performed well over the last two years and wanted to continue in that vein.
“The way Misbah-ul-Huq has handled the team over the last two years has been great,” he said.
“He gives all the players confidence and it makes us want to give something back to him. He always delivers for us so we always back him up. He's turning out to be one of Pakistan's best captains.”
Junaid Khan bagged two wickets for 33 but his opening spell was particularly impressive.
Ranked the top one-day and Twenty20 bowler in the world, and third behind Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander in Tests, spinner Saeed Ajmal was wicketless but he kept the run-rate down, conceding 68 runs off his 23 overs, allowing the pressure to mount on the batsmen.
All the batsmen got starts with Kallis top-scoring on 50, reaching his half-century off 74 balls.
When South Africa were wobbling at 135-4, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis came together and added 64 runs for the fifth wicket. Their partnership lasted 148 balls which gave some indication of how hard it was to score runs.
Du Plessis, who survived one review after an appeal for caught behind, went on to make 41 before his luck ran out.
He played a good defensive shot which spun back and rolled onto his middle stump, knocking off the bails.
“AB and I had a good partnership going but, considering the position we were in, the bottom six did not get enough runs,” Du Plessis said.
“So it's important for rest of series that if we get an opportunity for a partnership, we make sure we take it deeper, because it's tough for the new guys coming in.”
He said South Africa had been looking to make around 320 and were disappointed with their score but the slow run-rate reflected how hard it was for them to score runs.
“If you come in and have Saeed Ajmal bowling at you and he's spinning it both ways, it's quite tough,” Du Plessis said.
“If their seamers don't get wickets, they can bring on the spinners.
"Or if they just need to keep the run rate down, they can also do that as well.”
Pakistan faced two overs at the end of the day, and will resume on six without loss on Saturday.
SOUTH AFRICA: GC Smith (capt), AN Petersen, HM Amla, JH Kallis, AB de Villiers (wk), F du Plessis, D Elgar, VD Philander, RJ Peterson, DW Steyn, M Morkel
PAKISTAN: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Azhar Ali, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Rahat Ali