Babar’s fighting knock helps Pakistan reach 181

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Right-handed batsman Babar Azam stood firm and played and played a fighting knock of 71 runs to take Pakistan’s total from 86-6 to 181-10 on day one of the boxing day Test against South Africa in Centurian.

Azam responsibly took the tailenders along with him and somehow managed to release the pressure from green shirts.

South Africa dominated with the bowl as they completely got rid of Pakistani batsman on day one of the opening test of the three-match test series. Duanne Olivier was the pick of the bowlers taking six wickets conceding 37 runs in 14 overs.

Dale Steyn became South Africa’s leading Test wicket-taker taking a single wicket to complete the figures of 422.

Pakistan were 76 for four at lunch after winning the toss and batting on a well-grassed pitch on a hot day.

Steyn and fellow fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Duanne Olivier all took wickets.

Rabada struck first, trapping Imam-ul-Haq leg before wicket for naught with a full delivery in the second over. The batsman wasted a review of a decision from umpire Bruce Oxenford which never looked in doubt.

Steyn claimed his 422nd Test wicket, going past previous record-holder Shaun Pollock, when Fakhar Zaman edged him to third slip for 12, sparking exuberant celebrations from his team-mates.

Rabada lifted his new ball partner onto his shoulders as other players rushed in to congratulate him.

Shan Masood, playing in place of Haris Sohail, who suffered a knee injury during the pre-match warm-up, looked competent in scoring 19 before being bowled off his thigh pad by Olivier, who followed up by getting Asad Shafiq leg before for seven.

Shafiq reviewed Oxenford’s decision but replays showed the ball would have hit the bails in the ‘umpire’s call’ zone.

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