SHARJAH // South Africa geared up for the first Test against Pakistan by gaining useful batting and bowling practice in their drawn three-day match here yesterday.
They managed 109 for three in their second innings with an overall lead of 152 against Pakistan ‘A’ on the final day at the Sharjah Stadium.
South Africa did not send out their regular openers and instead promoted Jean-Paul Duminy and Faf de Plessis to get some useful practice on the new ball.
Duminy, who hit 49 in the first innings, fell caught behind off the bowling of paceman Ehsan Adil after scoring 23, but de Plessis went on to score 42 before he retired to give the tail-enders some batting practice.
The Proteas face Pakistan in the first of two Tests starting in Abu Dhabi from Monday.
The second Test will be played in Dubai on October 23, after which the teams will play five one-day and two Twenty20 internationals.
South African captain Graeme Smith was satisfied with his team’s preparation and acclimatisation in the UAE heat, soaring up to 38°C.
“I think we are getting used to the heat and I think we have done that, it’s been a fair amount of getting used to the conditions of the UAE,” said Smith, who is coming off ankle surgery and managed just two in the side game.
“We made sure that we walk away knowing that we have achieved something and have the ability to mentally step it up for the big games and I would like to think we would be able to that going into the first Test.
“I had a major surgery six months ago and it was just a management process for me more than anything else.
“Obviously, I would have loved to spend more time in the middle, but that wasn’t to be, but I have been in such situations many times before in my career, so I am looking forward to the challenge of getting myself ready on Monday.”
Earlier Pakistan Test hopeful Asad Shafiq fell for 42 and Pakistan ‘A’ captain Umar Amin managed just 12.
Another aspirant for a Test place, Sohaib Maqsood, made 34 and wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan hit 31.
Pakistan ‘A’ declared their first innings at 311 for six, giving South Africa a lead of 43.
South Africa’s four-pronged pace attack of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel and Rory Kleinveldt had a 58-over work-out with Philander chipping in with two for 39.