x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Saeed Ajmal fiver leaves South Africa reeling on day of drama at Cape Town

Spinner dominated with the help of controversial decisions from the umpires to leave Proteas with the prospect of losing the second Test.

Saeed Ajmal took all five South Africa wickets that fell at the Newlands ground in Cape Town. Alexander Joe / AFP
Saeed Ajmal took all five South Africa wickets that fell at the Newlands ground in Cape Town. Alexander Joe / AFP

CAPE TOWN // Saeed Ajmal, the Pakistan off-spinner, ripped through South Africa's batting to leave them reeling on 139 for five at the end of a controversial second day in the second Test at Newlands today.

Ajmal grabbed five for 41 but his brilliant first-innings performance was almost overshadowed by three incidents involving umpire Steve Davis.

South Africa trail by 199 runs having earlier in the day bowled Pakistan out for 338, Vernon Philander picking up five for 59.

The most heated debate occurred after Jacques Kallis was given out lbw for two off Ajmal by third umpire Billy Bowden. Davis had lifted his finger for what seemed to be a catch off bat and pad and the unhappy Kallis decided to opt for a television review.

Hot-spot showed no edge but the replay revealed the ball would have gone on to clip the outside of leg stump and he was given out lbw.

Kallis argued that he should not be given out as the original bat-pad decision was wrong. However, after lengthy talks between Davis and Bowden, the South African had to walk back to the pavilion.

The team manager for the Proteas, Mohammad Moosajee, later confirmed they had received a satisfactory explanation from the officials. "All we did was seek clarity from the umpire, which we were happy with," Moosajee said. "The rule states that if an umpire has given a batsman out and the batsman appeals, he can be given out for something else."

Moosajee said he could not comment in detail because there was a code of conduct regarding the decision review system.

Ajmal bowled non-stop for 25 overs from just before tea to hand the initiative to Pakistan.

"Ajmal has been able to get purchase on the wicket which is dryer than it has been in the past," South Africa's assistant coach Russell Domingo told a news conference.

"Maybe we could have played more positively against him but the history of Newlands shows the third innings is the trickiest to bat in. If we can get to within 80 or 90 of them in this innings and put them under pressure, hopefully we can chase 250 or so."

Captain Graeme Smith was Ajmal's first victim, trapped lbw for 19 while attempting a sweep. Davis originally said it was not out but the visitors asked for a review and it showed the ball would have hit the stumps.

Azhar Ali then took an excellent one-handed catch at short leg to dismiss Alviro Petersen for 17, Ajmal finding an inside edge that deflected off the pads.

Hashim Amla (25) was then struck on the pads playing back to Ajmal. Once again Davis gave it not out but the lbw shout was overturned on review.

Faf du Plessis took more than two hours to make 28 before his long vigil was ended when he was caught at slip by Younis Khan off Ajmal.

AB de Villiers (24) and Dean Elgar (11) were the unbeaten batsmen when stumps were drawn. "The conditions here are totally different to the first Test {at the Wanderers)," said Dav Whatmore, Pakistan's coach, referring to his team's 211-run defeat.

"This wicket will get harder to bat on so we are happy with our position."

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