x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Placid pitches threaten Tests: Kallis

Proteas stalwart calls it worrying and there are fears for future of five-day game expressed as Abu Dhabi match fizzles out in a tame draw.

Misbah-ul-Haq on his way to an unbeaten 58 for Pakistan yesterday. Aamir Qureshi / AFP
Misbah-ul-Haq on his way to an unbeaten 58 for Pakistan yesterday. Aamir Qureshi / AFP

ABU DHABI // Jacques Kallis, South Africa's stand-in captain, has warned that Test cricket will die if it is played on the type of batsman-friendly pitches that have been seen in the UAE over the past fortnight.

Pakistan's batsmen were largely untroubled as they were able to force a second successive draw against the Proteas at the Zayed Cricket Stadium yesterday to halve the two-match series.

Kallis was one of the batsmen who profited from the benign batting conditions in the UAE, as he made consecutive centuries in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

However, as a seam-bowling all-rounder, he was also acutely aware that the battle was an unfair one for the bowlers. Just 52 wickets out of a possible 80 fell in 10 days of cricket in the Emirates.

For much of the two Test matches, there was more excitement to be had watching the Movember moustaches growing on the faces of South Africa's players than there was following the action in the middle.

"This is worrying and really needs to be looked at in Test cricket," Kallis said.

"We are struggling to keep the game alive and to play on two wickets like that is really not good for the game.

"The groundsmen really need to ensure the game of Test cricket stays healthy and look to ensure there is a good contest between bat and ball.

"It did not really break up and you could probably play another Test match straight away and still not get a result."

The fact that an injury-depleted and controversy-fatigued Pakistan managed to avoid defeat in the series, having gone down to successive Twenty20 and one-day international series losses to the same opponents, was a boon for their captain, Misbah-ul-Haq.

He averaged 110 for the series, and was undefeated at the crease when both Tests were saved, including his effort of 58 from 140 balls yesterday.

Azhar Ali supported his salvage effort with a funereal 28 not out from 135 balls as Pakistan closed a vacuous Test match on 153 for three from 67 overs.

"The wicket was obviously very good for batting, but you still need to play with skill to succeed," Misbah said.

"I think my team showed that. I never felt my team was demoralised [despite the previous controversies].

"Morale was always high within my team and they played good, hard cricket.

"I am very happy with the way all of them have played and coped with the pressure."

pradley@thenational.ae


Scorecard
South Africa, 1st innings?584-9 dec

Pakistan, 1st innings 434 all out

South Africa, 2nd innings (overnight 173-4)

Prince                      not out              47?Boucher                       b Gul                 15
Botha                            not out                7
Extras             1nb, 1lb                    2
Total (5 wkts dec, 55 overs)    203
Fall of wickets: 5-182
Bowling: Gul 7-0-32-1; Tanvir 5-1-29-0; Rehman 22-1-81-3; Sami 5-0-28-0; Hafeez 16-4-32-1


Pakistan, 2nd innings

Hafeez    lbw    b Harris    34
Taufeeq    lbw    b Botha    30
Azhar                       not out    28
Younus    lbw    b Harris    0
Misbah                      not out      58?Extras            2lb,1w                    3
Total (3 wkts, 67 overs)    153
Fall of wickets: 1-66; 2-66; 3-66
Bowling: Steyn 11-2-40-0; Morkel 11-1-29-0; Harris 23-14-28-2; Kallis 2-0-13-0; Botha 17-4-40-1; Petersen 1-0-1-0


Match drawn.