x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Session updates from Day 4 of the first Test of Pakistan v South Africa in Abu Dhabi

Pakistan did the seemingly impossible and defeated South Africa by seven wickets early into the evening session, cruising past 40 on a fitting Misbah-ul-Haq six to end it.

Zulfiqar Babar, right, bowled out Dale Steyn on Thursday morning. Karim Sahib / AFP
Zulfiqar Babar, right, bowled out Dale Steyn on Thursday morning. Karim Sahib / AFP

Evening – Pakistan win by seven wickets

There was, for the briefest of moments, the possibility that South Africa could actually prevent Pakistan from chasing down their tatget of 40.

On just the eighth ball of Pakistan’s second innings, Shan Masood edged to wicket-keeper AB de Villiers off a Vernon Philander delivery.

Only 10 balls later, Azhar Ali was caught at second slip by Jacques Kallis off Dale Steyn.

And in the next over, Khurram Manzoor edged to De Villiers off Philander.

Suddenly, Pakistan were seven for three and the required 40 was not looking so easy anymore. But Younis Khan and – who else – captain Misbah-ul-Haq formed a 38-run partnership on the fourth wicket to make Pakistan seven-wicket winners, for the side’s first ever victory over the Proteas.

Misbah, who made a century in the first innings, scored 28 off 26 balls and hit a fitting six straight down the ground to put Pakistan over. This Test will surely be remembered as one of the 39 year old’s finer moments.

Afternoon - South Africa all out for 232

After a morning session that saw the wickets of Dale Styen and JP Duminy fall, Faf du Plessis went shortly after lunch. Once AB de Villiers was caught by Shan Masood from a Junaid Khan delivery at 190, whether South Africa would even be able to make Pakistan bat again was in doubt.

The Proteas managed it, but just barely, with Robin Peterson’s 47 not out doing the bulk of the heavy lifting to at least prevent an innings defeat.

Saeed Ajmal, after dismissing du Plessis earlier, wrapped things up by doing the same to Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel within the span of three balls in the 83rd over.

Ajmal increased his wicket take in international cricket this year to 70, the leading total in the world.

If a Pakistan victory looked inevitable at the beginning of the day, it is all but assured now with just 40 needed to go one up in the two-match Test series.

Morning – South Africa 130 for 6

Pakistan moved closer to a remarkable first Test win against South Africa in Abu Dhabi, taking two wickets in the morning session. That left the visitors on 129 for six, still 64 runs from making Pakistan bat again.

The morning had begun well for South Africa, as the overnight pair of AB de Villiers and nightwatchman Dale Steyn resisted. The pair looked pretty comfortable in putting on 34 runs, but it was only going to be a matter of time before Pakistan broke through.

Sure enough, 12 overs in, Steyn was dismissed. As he had done last evening with the big wicket of Hashim Amla, Zulfiqar Babar struck in his first over of the day. Steyn misread both the line and length of Babar’s third ball to be bowled.

Pure survival was now the name of the game as runs dried up. JP Duminy went in the first over after morning drinks, trapped leg-before by Junaid Khan. The review was more in hope than anything else. A string of four consecutive maidens followed as Pakistan tightened the noose.

Faf du Plessis eventually got the rate moving a little, a lovely drive through extra cover off Babar bringing a much-neede boundary. At the other end AB de Villiers looked untroubled picking up runs easily and bringing up a 33rd Test fifty just before lunch with a commanding six down the ground.

By then du Plessis had been dropped, by Akmal, and the pair worked their way through to lunch. They will need to be there till the end of the day at least to prevent what would be South Africa’s first Test defeat in nearly two years.